Job-Russian courts order activists held over Arctic oil protest

Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:12am EDT
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* Activists , crew of Greenpeace ship denied bail

* Thirty activists face hearings over protest at oil platform

* Investigators have opened piracy case

* Six arrested in Bulgaria protest against Gazprom's Arctic plans

By Steve Gutterman

MOSCOW, Sept 26 (Reuters) - A Russian court on Thursday ordered seven Greenpeace activists and a photographer held in custody for two months pending further investigation over a protest against offshore Arctic oil drilling, drawing criticism from the environmental group.

The eight men, who had been among 30 people aboard a Greenpeace ship used to stage the protest at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform, were denied bail by a court in the northern city of Murmansk, Greenpeace and Russian media said.

Hearings were expected on Thursday for some of the others who had been aboard the Arctic Sunrise, which was seized by Russian coast guards after two activists tried to scale the rig owned by state-controlled Gazprom on Sept. 18.

"We are deeply concerned by the decision of the judge to refuse bail," Greenpeace Executive Director John Sauven said.   Continued...