EIT: Greenpeaceaktivistien vapautta ja sananvapautta loukattin Venäjällä

28.6.2023 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman

Violation of Greenpeace Arctic activists’ rights after protest at Russian offshore oil-drilling platform

In  Chamber judgment in the case of Bryan and Others v. Russia (application no. 22515/14) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

  • a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and
  • a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression).

The case concerned a protest in 2013 by 30 Greenpeace activists at the Russian offshore oil-drilling platform Prirazlomnaya.
The protest had involved two of the activists climbing the Prirazlomnaya platform after launching dinghies from a vessel called the Arctic Sunrise, which had been sailing under the flag of the Netherlands. The Russian coastguard had subsequently intercepted the vessel and towed it to the port of Murmansk, with the activists on board. On arriving at Murmansk the activists had been arrested and their detention ordered on charges of piracy. The charges had later been reclassified to hooliganism, and the proceedings against them discontinued under an amnesty.

Firstly, the Court examined various aspects related to jurisdiction and decided that it could deal with the case. In particular, despite the compensation the activists had received as a result of a settlement agreement reached by the Netherlands and Russia over the incident – after arbitration proceedings under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – there had been no acknowledgment by Russia of a breach of the activists’ rights and they could therefore still claim to be victims of a violation of the European Convention.

Next the Court found that the period during which the Arctic Sunrise had been under Russian control and up until its arrival in Murmansk had amounted to a deprivation of the activists’ liberty. That period of detention had been completely unrecorded and had therefore amounted to a grave violation of their Article 5 rights.

Although the activists’ detention after that and up until their release two months later had been officially recorded, it had been arbitrary as there had been confusion over what charges to bring against them and the reasons for their detention.

Lastly, the Court found that their detention had amounted to an interference with their freedom to express their opinion on a matter of significant environmental interest which had not been prescribed by national law.

Press release



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