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PM Abbott must meet Putin at APEC on Australian Greenpeace detainee

Media Release
Christine Milne 4 Oct 2013

The Prime Minister is attending the APEC Summit in Bali this weekend and must use the opportunity to make representations on behalf of Australian citizen Colin Russell who has been imprisoned and charged with piracy in Russia, says Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne.

"Prime Minister Abbott must step in after a week of silence from the Australian Government," Senator Milne said.

"Even President Putin has said the Greenpeace activists from the Arctic Sunrise are not pirates, yet they have been charged with piracy which carries a mandatory prison sentence of between 10 and 15 years.

"This is a very serious and ludicrous charge against environmental activists engaged in a peaceful protest against the Gazprom oil drilling platform which poses a serious risk of oil spills in the Arctic.

"Prime Minister Abbott cannot run away from this opportunity to seek the release of an Australian citizen imprisoned in such disproportionately harsh and draconian circumstances.

"Mr Abbott must also seek an explanation from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as to why she has said nothing in defence of Mr Russell.

"I have also written again to Minister Bishop asking that she provide a letter of guarantee to President Putin so that Mr Russell is able to come home while awaiting trial just as the Brazilian and Argentinian governments will do.

"It is critical that the Australian Government communicate to Russia that we do not accept this kind of treatment of our citizens and to stand up for the right to peaceful protest."

 

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