Australia presses Russia over detained Greenpeace activist

NUSA DUA, Indonesia: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop Saturday expressed concern to Russia about an Australian crew member of a Greenpeace ship facing a “very serious” piracy charge over an Arctic oil exploration protest.

Colin Russell is one of 30 activists from the Arctic Sunrise ship who were detained in Russia and are facing the charge, which can carry a lengthy jail term, after last month’s protest.

After talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Indonesia’s Bali, Bishop said she had raised “Australia’s concern about the case”.

She said she asked the minister “that Russian authorities accord due legal process to Mr Russell and other detainees”, adding that Australia was looking into whether the “very serious charge” was appropriate.

“I’m seeking advice on the details of the piracy charges. I understand they were brought under a Russian law but we’re seeking advice as to whether these charges are appropriate,” she said.