Alexandre Paul released from St. Petersburg prison

Alexandre Paul, a Montreal Greenpeace activist detained by Russian authorities in September, has been released on bail.

Release of Arctic Sunrise ship and activists ordered by international tribunal

Alexandre Paul was released from a Russian prison today after being detained on Sept. 19. He was aboard Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship when he and 29 of his shipmates were arrested for protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. (Vladimir Baryshev/Greenpeace)

Alexandre Paul, a Montreal Greenpeace activist detained by Russian authorities in September, has been released on bail.  

Diego Creimer, a spokesman for Greenpeace Canada, confirmed his release Friday morning.

The conditions of his bail are not yet fully known, Creimer said. Paul was being taken to a hotel in St. Petersburg in the meantime.

Paul is the second of the two Canadians detained to be released.

The sister of Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., the other Canadian detained, said on Twitter that her brother and Paul were sharing a room together. 

Both men were granted bail earlier this week, but their release took a couple of days. There is no word yet on when they will return to Canada. 

Greenpeace paid 2 million roubles, or $64,000 Cdn, in bail for each activist.

“I have been waiting this moment for more than two months, every day, every night. I just want to hold him in my arms as soon as possible,” said Paul's mother, Nicole Paul.

Paul Ruzycki, chief mate on the Arctic Sunrise, has been with Greenpeace for 25 years. (Courtesy Ruzycki family)

The fate of the Arctic Sunrise

Paul was arrested Sept. 19 aboard Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship along with 29 other members of the environmental activist group.

Some of the members of the group had scaled Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Arctic's Pechora Sea the day before Russian authorities stormed the ship and arrested all the people aboard it.

The activists were first detained in a northern Russian jail in Murmansk before being transported to SIZO 1 detention centre in St. Petersburg. 

The Arctic Sunrise is still in the custody of Russian authorities despite multiple requests to have it returned to Greenpeace. 

However, Greenpeace reports that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea today ordered Russia in a binding ruling to release the Arctic Sunrise and the 28 activists and two freelance journalists on board — otherwise known as the “Arctic 30”  — upon payment of a EUR 3.6 million bond.

Of the 30 activists detained, 29 have so far been granted bail, and 26 of them have been released on bail so far. Greenpeace reports that one activist, Colin Russell of Australia, was not granted bail and has had his stay in jail extended to February. 

Paul and Ruzycki are still facing charges of hooliganism after their initial charges of piracy were downgraded.

With files from The Associated Press


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