Bail denied for Greenpeace activist held in Russia

International pressure is mounting on Russia to free the 30 Greenpeace activists who have been charged with piracy for attempting to board an oil rig

Greenpeace activist Anne Mie Roer Jensen was denied bail this afternoon and will continue to be held on remand in a Murmansk prison on charges of piracy.

The Danish activist is one of 30 from 19 countrues apprehended in September by the Russian authorities after a failed attempt to board a Gazprom oil rig in the Arctic Ocean.

Greenpeace says the action was peaceful and designed to expose the dangers of drilling for oil in the fragile Arctic environment. Greenpeace had targeted the first oil-producing rig operating in the Arctic Ocean.

Piracy
"It's completely absurd that the court has chosen to continue their imprisonment that is based on an unsound charge," Jon Burgwald, a Greenpeace spokesperson, said, referring to the 15 years in prison the activists currently face.

"Anne Mie Roer Jensen is clearly not a pirate and it's a scandal that the prosecution is subjecting her and 29 others to this treatment in order to protect the state-controlled Gazprom and their highly risky drilling for oil," Burgwald said.

The 30 activists have all been held for 30 days and have so far had their bail requests denied by the Russian authorities, despite statements by Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, that they "are clearly not pirates".

"Absurd charge"
Greenpeace has commended the consular services the Danish government has offered Jensen, but the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal, has so far refused to take political action.

READ MORE: No diplomatic pressure to release Greenpeace acitivst in Russia

Pressure is mounting, however; the Netherlands has started legal proceedings using international maritime law, German chancellor Angela Merkel called Putin on Wednesday to demand the activists' release and 11 Nobel Prize laurates have written a letter condemning the lengthy imprisonment as "excessive".

The case took an even more sinister turn last night when six men were filmed by security cameras breaking into Greenpeace's office in Murmansk and stealing a mock cage that was going to be used in a protest today.