Prime Minister John Key is likely to discuss the two New
Zealanders who are among 30 Greenpeace activists detained by
Russian authorities when he meets Russian President Vladimir
Putin during the Apec summit.
The two-day meeting began today in Bali and while Mr Key has
no formal bilateral discussion scheduled with Mr Putin, "I'm
bound to run into him", he told reporters this morning.
"We'll just have a wide-ranging discussion. We're slowly
edging toward a free trade agreement, there's still quite a
lot of work to be done there from what I understand, and I
may ask him about the situation with the New Zealand
protesters that are there."
New Zealanders Jonathan Beauchamp and David Haussmann are
among the 30 Greenpeace crew members of the Arctic Sunrise
ship, which was seized in international waters last month
during a protest over drilling for oil in the Arctic.
Facing piracy charges the activists face up to 15 years in
prison if convicted.
"We have to accept that they're part of the Russian judicial
system", Mr Key said.
"We wouldn't look to interfere with that but we'll certainly
register that there are New Zealanders that are part of that
Mr Key would not comment on suggestions the charges brought
against the protesters including the two New Zealanders were
"It's very difficult to judge, I don't know all the details
that have gone on. The Government's involvement has been
really working with the British consulate and New Zealand
diplomatic staff to ensure that the people are getting access
to all their rights and being well treated and properly
"Their system is clearly very different from ours and it's
very challenging for us to interfere in the Russian judicial
system and actually we wouldn't want them to interfere into
Actor Jude law and musician Damon Albarn are among those
calling for the release of the activists.
Law, Albarn, Clash bass player Paul Simonon and fashion
designer Vivienne Westwood joined about 800 people outside
the Russian Embassy in London on Saturday to put pressure on
Russia to release the group.
It was part of a global day of protest which also saw about
200 people rally outside the Russian Embassy in Wellington.
Law told the Guardian he was "just adding my face and body to
the mass of support".
"The fact that there is a threat of conviction did not put
them off. What is ludicrous is that they have been charged
with piracy, which has a threat of 15 years in prison."
Law and Albarn, who are friends with one of the detainees,
Frank Hewetson, reportedly said the arrests were an
"Of course I am worried about Frank because I care about his
family and I care about him but I know that he is incredibly
durable," Law said.
Mr Haussmann's partner, Sarah Watson, broke down as she gave
an emotional speech at a similar rally in Wellington on
"These are not crazy nutbars, they're normal peaceful people
... and they believe in the right to peaceful protest and the
right of free speech and I believe they deserve some support
from everybody and that includes the New Zealand Government."
Beauchamp's niece Zara Mansoor also spoke to the crowd and
read a letter written by her grandmother, Mary Beauchamp,
about her son.
The letter said: "Our John is a caring, piratical,
commonsense sort of man and very brave too."
Russia has reportedly shrugged off Dutch legal action over
the activists' detention.
The Netherlands launched legal proceedings against Russia on
Friday, with the country's Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans
saying he felt responsible because the vessel sailed under a
In response, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov
told state-run news agency RIA Novosti that Russia had
repeatedly asked the Netherlands to halt what Russia said was
"illegal activity" by the ship.
"Unfortunately, this was not done. Therefore, we have far
more questions for the Dutch side than they can have for us,"
"Everything that happened with the Arctic Sunrise was pure
- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald