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Greenpeace Arctic 30: Two more Brits granted bail in Russia


Seven more Greenpeace activists arrested by the Russian authorities in a protest against drilling in the Arctic have been granted bail, including two Britons - Frank Hewetson from London and Iain Rogers from Exeter.

Five of the six Britons arrested two months ago have now been given bail. The sixth, Philip Ball, from Chipping Norton, will have his bail application heard on Friday.

Mr Rogers's mother Sue Turner said: “It's been such a rollercoaster and I'm ever so grateful that Iain has been granted bail. But my thoughts are also with Colin and his family - I really hope he too will be able to walk out of that prison soon.”

An activist from Devon was granted bail earlier.

Greenpeace has unveiled giant portraits of the activists arrested in Russia as part of the group's continuing campaign against drilling in the Arctic.

The black and white photographs were placed outside the London offices of oil giant Shell.

The so-called Arctic 30 - 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists - are awaiting trial on piracy and hooliganism charges after being detained during a protest in the Arctic two months ago.

Greenpeace said it was drawing attention to Shell and its Russian partner Gazprom's planned joint venture to drill for oil in the Arctic.

Entitled Thirty Acts of Courage, the “exhibition” was officially opened by fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, who said: “I'm delighted to be able to open this exhibition celebrating the bravery of the Arctic 30.

“Their audacious efforts to protect one of the world's last remaining wildernesses from exploitation by the oil industry are an example to us all.

“I urge everyone who cares about the climate, the natural world or the right to peaceful protest to share their concerns with Shell and Gazprom.”

She told the Press Association that she greatly admired the activists.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Shell and Gazprom are not equipped to drill in the Arctic without causing catastrophic damage to the unique ecosystem. But what makes their Arctic plans so blindly stupid is that they're only able to drill there because of the huge loss of Arctic sea ice from climate change.”

Alex Harris was the first of the six Britons in the so-called Arctic 30 to be given bail, following similar decisions affecting 12 others.

They were among the 28 activists and two freelance journalists arrested by Russian security forces two months ago.

The court hearings are being held in St Petersburg.