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Swiss Greenpeace activist leaves jail

Marco Weber was in prison for two months Keystone

Marco Weber, the Swiss Greenpeace activist arrested by Russian authorities more than two months ago following a protest at an Arctic oil platform, has left prison in St Petersburg in Russia.

Yves Zenger, Greenpeace Switzerland spokesman, confirmed the move on Friday, which had also been announced on Twitter. 

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Weber, along with fellow protesters, are being looked after by a Greenpeace team in St Petersburg.

But Zenger told the Swiss news agency that he did not know under what conditions Weber had been allowed to go free: whether he was allowed to move around freely or was still under house arrest.  The spokesman added that Weber had “apparently” been given back his passport and had been granted special permission to stay in Russia, as he had no visa.

In total, 28 Greenpeace protestors and two journalists from 18 countries were arrested on September 18 after launching a protest on the Prirazlomnoye oil platform, run by the Russian state-owned Gazprom, from aboard Greenpeace’s “Arctic Sunrise” vessel.
 
News that Weber – and 19 others – would be granted bail came on Wednesday. According to Greenpeace Switzerland, Weber’s bail came upon payment of two million Russian roubles, or CHF55,000.

The protesters aboard the Arctic Sunrise were arrested by Russian officials near the oil platform and charged with piracy after their boat was towed to the port of Murmansk. Later, the piracy charge was reduced to “hooliganism”, which carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years.

During his captivity, the 28-year-old Weber described in a letter the difficult conditions he and the other protesters were being held in, with extremely cold temperatures and daily walks which were “demeaning” in nature. “The room is dirty and wet,” he said of where he was being held.

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