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Greenpeace sues Russia in Europe rights court

The environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace International [advocacy website] on Monday filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights [official website] on behalf of the Arctic 30 [Greenpeace backgrounder], a group of Greenpeace activists who spent two months in a Russian jail following a peaceful protest against drilling in the Arctic. Greenpeace is requesting [press release] "just compensation" for the Arctic 30 as well as a declaration by the court that Russia's apprehension and detention of the activists in international waters was unlawful. Greenpeace asserts [WSJ report] that the court has jurisdiction to rule on the case because Russia has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.

In December Greenpeace announced [JURIST report] that Russian authorities dropped criminal charges against the Arctic 30. In November a Russian court granted bail to Colin Russell, who was one of the activists detained. That same month, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ordered the release [JURIST report] of the Arctic Sunrise as well as all those arrested in board the ship, upon payment of a 3.6 million euro bond by the Netherlands. In October the activists were charged with piracy following their staged protest. Russia's treatment of the activists has drawn criticism from a number of rights groups including Human Rights Watch [press release].

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