Finnish environmental activist Sini Saarela and the other 29 Greenpeace activists detained by Russian authorities will be charged with piracy on Wednesday in the northern city of Murmansk, the non-governmental Russian news agency Interfax reports.
The activists were taken into custody on September 18 during a protest at an offshore platform in the Arctic owned by Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom. The activists, from 18 countries, are all in custody in Murmansk. Piracy is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Over the weekend, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja that there was no legal basis for a charge of piracy and that he considered it unlikely that the Greenpeace members would be convicted of it.
On Tuesday the head of a Russian state-connected regional prisoners’ rights watchdog, Irina Paikacheva, said that prison officials had denied Saarela’s request for vitamins to be delivered to her. As a vegan, Saarela feels unable to eat prison food, Paikacheva says.
She adds that the Finnish activist also lacks a thyroid gland and needs to take medicine regularly, which is difficult as prisoners are not allowed to have watches.