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Russia charges 16 more in Greenpeace protest

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 8:54 p.m.

MOSCOW — Russia charged an 16 more people with piracy on Thursday for their role in a foiled Greenpeace protest of oil drilling in the Arctic, a Russian television network reported.

Among the new defendants are Greenpeace activists, crew members of the environmental organization's Arctic Sunrise icebreaker and Moscow-based freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov, Rossiya-24 reported. They join 14 others who were charged with piracy the day before.

The 30 defendants, who are being held in the Russian Far East port of Murmansk, include nationals of 18 countries, including the United States and Russia. Sinyakov, who is Russian, was covering the protest on assignment for Lenta.ru, a popular Russian online publication.

All have been remanded to custody until Nov. 24 pending an investigation. If convicted, each defendant could face up to 15 years in prison.

Greenpeace International announced plans for a protest of the arrests, which it has characterized as an extreme overreaction. The activists were rebuffed on Sept. 18 while attempting to raise a protest banner on an oil drilling rig in Russia's exclusive economic zone in the Barents Sea. Russian authorities seized their ship the next day.

“On Saturday (Oct. 5) tens of thousands of people will take part in an emergency global day of solidarity,” the organization announced on its website. “Peaceful events are planned in more than 80 cities in 45 countries across the world.”

Greenpeace lawyers have lodged formal appeals against the continued detention, the statement said.

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