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Bail denied for US Greenpeace ship captain in Russia hearing


Greenpeace ship the 'Arctic Sunrise' arrived last 19 February in the Canary Islands, starts a tour of Spain 22 February 2005.


Samuel Aranda

A Russian court on Monday denied bail requests from Pete Wilcox, the US captain of Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which was involved in a protest at an Arctic drilling platform, and two other foreign activists who were on board.

Wilcox, 60, and activists David John Haussmann, 49, and Camila Speziale, 21, are among 30 people being held in Murmansk on charges of piracy. The three had appealed against a pre-trial detention order.

Bail hearings for two other campaigners, Briton Frank Heweton and a Swiss activist, are scheduled for Tuesday. Italian crew member Cristian D'Alessandro also had his hearing put off to the same day.

More from GlobalPost: Greenpeace activists could face terrorism charges in Russia after Arctic oil rig protest

They have all denied the charges against them.

Wilcox has been campaigning with Greenpeace for decades and was at the helm of the environmental group's ship, Rainbow Warrior, when it was bombed and sunk by the French secret service in New Zealand in 1985.

"I've been working on ships doing environmental work for 40 years. Never before have I been accused of using violence or doing something for my own personal gain," he said. "And I reject these accusations in the strongest way possible."

"He is a hero not a pirate," his wife Maggie also said in a statement. "I appeal to the common sense and conscience of the Russian authorities to let my husband and the rest of the people from the Arctic Sunrise come home."

The piracy charges that all 30 activists face are punishable by up to 15 years in jail and are considered a message from Moscow that it will not tolerate attempts to stop its development of the Arctic.