MONTREAL – The mother of one of two Canadian Greenpeace activists recently detained in Russia says her son might be home as early as this Friday.
“He was fine when I spoke to him (Tuesday),” Nicole Paul told The Canadian Press in reference to her son Alexandre.
“He could arrive on Friday.”
The Montrealer and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., were among 30 crew members on a Greenpeace ship who were detained after a protest at a Russian oil rig in September.
Earlier today, Greenpeace said word that a U.K.-based activist detained in Russia has been granted amnesty was good news for Ruzycki and Paul.
Anthony Perrett of the United Kingdom has been told he could collect paperwork for leaving Russia on Thursday.
The Canadians were held for two months before being released last month but haven’t yet been allowed to leave Russia.
Greenpeace spokesman Diego Creimer says Tuesday’s news about Perrett is a good sign that Ruzycki and Paul could also be allowed to go home soon, since in the past when a decision is made about one activist, the same tends to happen for the others.
He says once they are granted amnesty under a recently passed law, and the charges against them are dropped, the activists would next have to apply for a visa to exit Russia.
“As soon as they have the stamp in their passports they can fly back home,” said Creimer, calling it “great news.”
“We are ready to receive them back home, it depends on the Russians,” he said.
The Greenpeace crew members were originally accused of piracy, a charge that was later changed to hooliganism.
Tuesday’s news from Russia is the latest headline to come just two months before the Sochi Games and many observers say it’s a move to repair the country’s much-criticized human rights record.
First, Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released after a decade in prison, and then the last two Pussy Riot activists were pardoned and freed.