‘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


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.

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say


Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

Life and Style

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery NurseI am currently...

KS2 Teacher

£21000 - £34000 per annum + Excellent rates of pay, CPD, Support : Randstad Ed...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery nurse required for ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album