REFILE-UPDATE 1-Russia refuses to bail two Britons held for Greenpeace protest

Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:25am EDT
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* Environmental protesters being held on piracy charges

* First foreigners to appeal against detention fail

* Finnish minister resigns over separate Greenpeace protest

By Gabriela Baczynska

MOSCOW, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Two Britons held in Russia for a Greenpeace protest were ordered to remain in pre-trial detention on Friday, a defeat for the first of the many foreigners among the 30 detainees to seek bail.

Freelance videographer Kieron Bryan and Greenpeace activist Phillip Ball, who, like the others, face piracy charges, had appealed against an order that they be held through late November.

The court, in the northern port city of Murmansk, has already denied bail to four Russians held for the Sept. 18 protest in which a Greenpeace ship was boarded by security forces close to an oil rig in the Arctic.

The piracy charges - punishable by up to 15 years' jail- appear aimed at sending a message that Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of the resource-rich Arctic that Greenpeace says could destroy a pristine environment.   Continued...