New Zealand activist David Haussmann. Photo / Greenpeace
Two New Zealanders who spent two months in a Russian
prison following a protest at an Arctic oil platform have
David Haussmann and Jonathan Beauchamp would spend their
first days home relaxing with their families, Greenpeace NZ
executive director Bunny McDiarmid said.
The pair were among 30 people arrested and charged with
hooliganism following the protest at a Gazprom-operated oil
The group had charges against them dropped and exit visas
granted as part of an amnesty, initiated by Russian President
Vladimir Putin, earlier this month.
"I can't stop smiling. It's great that David and Jon are back
home," Ms McDiarmid said.
"They should never have been charged in the first place, and
it's ridiculous that they were locked up for months over a
peaceful protest to protect the Arctic.
"But they're back in New Zealand now, and they're going to
spend some time with the sun on their faces and their whanau
in their arms."
The campaign to free the Arctic 30 had seen 860 protests in
46 countries and in more than 150 cities worldwide, and more
than 2.6 million people wrote to Russian embassies, she said.
Supporters included celebrities Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna,
Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis,
Ricky Martin and Edward Norton.
The group had faced seven years in jail when they were
arrested after Russian authorities boarded their vessel, the
Arctic Sunrise, in international waters.