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Government must speak out on heavy handed treatment of activists – Greens

Media Release
Christine Milne 3 Oct 2013

The Greens want the government to do more to secure the release of Australian Colin Russell and other activists being held in Russia on preposterous charges of piracy after their protest voyage against oil drilling in the Arctic was ended abruptly by armed Russian officials.

"Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop have said absolutely nothing about the fact that an Australian citizen is being held on ridiculous charges of piracy. This is wrong," Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

"Their silence simply isn't good enough. Even President Putin has admitted these activists are not pirates.

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must make representations to have Colin Russell and the other activists released immediately.

"The Australian Government must stand up to other governments when they are heavy handed with our citizens.

"Equally the Australian Government must stand up for the right to non-violent protest to protect the environment.

"I am very grateful for the consular support that has been provided. However, while it is one thing to provide appropriate support and provisions while in custody, it is critical that the we also uphold the right to peaceful protest and speak out against this kind of treatment being dished out to our citizens by the Russian Government."

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