Families of Canadian activists jailed in Russia want government intervention - Macleans.ca

Families of Canadian activists jailed in Russia want government intervention


OTTAWA – The families of two Greenpeace activists jailed for six weeks in Russia following a protest at a drilling rig in the high Arctic say it is time for the Harper government to exert some political pressure.

Paul Ruzycki, of Port Colborne, Ont., and Montrealer Alexandre Paul were among 30 activists detained Sept. 18 when Russian paramilitaries stormed their ship in international waters.

The pair initially faced charges of piracy which have since been reduced to hooliganism — but they still face possible sentences of up to seven years in prison.

Ruzycki’s sister Patti Stirling says she was “incredibly buoyed” when Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird helped secure the release of a Canadian doctor and filmmaker detained in Egypt, but she has seen no such political effort on behalf of the activists.

Paul’s mother Nicole gave a tearful recital of the brutal conditions her son is facing in jail in Murmansk.

Stirling says her brother, an experienced activist, has never faced such arbitrary treatment and attributes what she calls Russia’s “1913 response” to the involvement of the petroleum industry.

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Families of Canadian activists jailed in Russia want government intervention

  1. Isn’t the difference that the Doctor/filmmaker hadn’t done anything illegal when he was arrested, and these two activists knowingly did something that would likely get them arrested in Russia?
    As horrible as the conditions are for them, and I’m sure they’re brutal, the two situations are entirely different…

    • Euh, the pair in Egypt were not particularly careful of what they were doing, nor where nor when.

      They were lucky not to be charged, tried, and imprisoned, actually, for aiding in the riot they attended.

      But I agree that deliberately and callously flouting the Law in Russia is getting them exactly the treatment they could have expected.

      And in contrast to the US, where they might have been imprisoned in a tropical paradise like Guantanamo Bay, Russia tends to have its prisons in remote and chilly parts of the country, like Siberia.

  2. I get a kick out if this. What do these families want? War with Russia because their families have law breaking delinquents? Just shows how frail and illogical some peoples minds are.

    Bottom line is don’t do the crime unless you want to do the time. Reality wins and lunacy fails again. Being Canadian isn’t a license to break the law, now grow up people.