A sweeping amnesty that is underway in Russia was extended on Tuesday to a member of the crew of the Arctic Sunrise, the Greenpeace International ship seized on the open seas three months ago.I discussed the original charges against the Greenpeace activists here and here. The piracy charges were downgraded to "hooliganism," which qualifies for amnesty. Several other prisoners who have already been released, including members of the band, Pussy Riot, have condemned Russia's amnesty approach. The Times continues:
If the amnesty covers the rest, as expected, it will draw to a close one of the more contentious chapters in Greenpeace’s history, in which Russian commandos boarded a ship, imprisoned the crew members and charged them, for a time, with piracy.
One member of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, stepped out of the penitentiary to say she would have preferred to stay than to accept an amnesty from President Vladimir V. Putin. The amnesty, she said, had been intended only to bolster the image of Mr. Putin and Russia before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which start in February.While all of the Greenpeace activists have not yet been guaranteed amnesty, it is likely that they soon will be, and will probably be able to leave the country soon.