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Russia denies visa for 'Arctic 30' activist

Return for Italian before trial unlikely, Greenpeace lawyers say

13 December, 19:41
Russia denies visa for 'Arctic 30' activist (ANSA) - Moscow, December 13 - Russian investigators on Friday denied a visa request for one of the 'Arctic 30' protesters arrested in September for trying to scale an offshore drilling platform. "For now we only have a response from the investigative committee, which is negative, and the name on the visa request doesn't matter because I think the others will also receive the same response," said Andrei Sushkov, a lawyer representing the Greenpeace activists. The 28 Greenpeace activists - including the Italian Cristian D'Alessandro - and two freelance journalists were released on bail in November after spending several weeks in jail.

A chance remains that they will be released with an amnesty drafted by Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 9, the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution. That proposal, which is slated for parliamentary review next week, may also be applied to the two jailed members of the Pussy Riot band, held for performing a "blasphemous" song inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior early last year.