‘Only drug on Greenpeace ship was medical morphine’: Wives of two men held in Russia claim innocent husbands are being kept in inhumane conditions

The men’s relatives describe the conditions in the prison as worse than the North Pole

Moscow

The wives of a Greenpeace activist and a freelance photographer charged with piracy, have disputed allegations that illegal drugs were on board the Arctic Sunrise and described the “extreme” conditions their husbands face in pre-trial detention in Murmansk.

“My husband never used drugs in his life. I think it’s a fake story to justify the detention of the ship and the  activists,” Veronika Dmitriyeva, the wife of Greenpeace Russia media  director Andrei Allakhverdov said.

“As far as I know, morphine is on every ship and is used as medicine,” said Alina Zhiganova, the wife of  photographer Denis Sinyakov.

On Wednesday, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement that illegal drugs, “presumably poppy straw and morphine,” had been found on the Arctic Sunrise and promised additional charges against some of those who had been on board. Greenpeace called the drug allegations a “fabrication” and said the Russian authorities must be referring to medical supplies the ship is required to carry.

Following a protest against Russia’s first Arctic oil rig, 28 crew members and activists and two freelance journalists were sentenced on 26 September to two months in pre-trial detention on charges of piracy, which carries a 10- to 15-year prison sentence. Mr Allakhverdov, Mr Sinyakov, ship doctor Yekaterina Zaspa and activist Roman Dolgov were denied bail this week, and the Murmansk court will hear bail appeals today for activist Philip Ball and freelance video journalist Kieron Bryan, two of the six Britons in confinement.

On Monday, Greenpeace lawyers said they would file a case with the European Court of Human Rights over the “inhumane” conditions faced by the activists, some of whom are kept in cold cells and do not have access to drinking water or medicine, they said.

When Alina Zhiganova was able to exchange a few words with her husband last week in the hallway of the court, he requested warm socks and a fleece because it was “ferociously cold” in his cell, she said. Mr Sinyakov “has never looked as bad as he looked at the appeal on Tuesday,” she added.

Mr Allakhverdov’s cell was also cold, but that the temperature had since improved, he told his wife last week when they spoke for 30 minutes through glass at his detention centre, Ms Dmitriyeva said. But the wardens don’t give her husband medicine for the headaches he often suffers, and she was not allowed to pass him medicine, she added.

“Russian prison – that’s even more extreme conditions than the North Pole” her husband had hoped to see, Ms Dmitriyeva said.

To fight boredom, Ms Zhiganova brought her husband Treasure Island and Pirates of the Caribbean, and Ms Dmitriyeva brought Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but the books must go through censorship in the detention centre before their husbands can request them from the library.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?