Big news! The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty.
Earlier today the Russian government agreed to amend an amnesty bill to include the Arctic 30, and just now the bill was officially adopted by their parliament. This means legal proceedings against them will be halted and they should be home soon.
I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief, but the Arctic 30 have said they’re not celebrating. They’ve all spent two months in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, and faced criminal charges that were absurd. As Pete Willcox, captain of the Arctic Sunrise, said: “There’s no amnesty for the Arctic.”
By accepting the amnesty they are not admitting guilt, and once they have the necessary exit visas, they should be home with their families. When that will be is still in the hands of the Russian authorities, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Christmas.
It’s been overwhelming watching the huge swell of support for the Arctic 30 over the last three months: 860 protests in 46 countries, and more than 2.6 million people emailing their Russian embassy. You’ve been at the heart of this – signing petitions, attending protests, getting your friends involved – it’s been an incredibly inspiring stand of solidarity.
And I hope it won’t end once they’re home. We must finish what these brave 28 activists and two journalists set out to do, and save the Arctic.