Moscow, Oct 9: Russian investigators said Wednesday that authorities have presumably found drugs on board Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship whose crew is under detention for attacking an oil rig in the country’s exclusive economic zone last month.
“Drug substances (presumably poppy straw and morphine) have been seized during the search of the vessel. The origin of these substances and their purpose are being determined,” Xinhua reported quoting the Russian investigative committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin as saying.
Detectives have also found that “some part of confiscated equipment is of dual purpose and could have been used not only in ecological purposes,” Markin said.
The equipment would be checked by legal experts soon, he added.
The official also said the charges against the 30 activists detained in mid-September were expected to be changed.
“It is obvious to investigators that a number of suspects will be charged with committing other serious crimes,” the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
However, the Greenpeace-Russia said the latest development may mean that the authorities do not believe they have enough evidence against the activists and accused the investigators of attempting to concoct them.
“We are not the adherents of conspiracy theories but one should understand that the Arctic Sunrise remains unattended since Sep 24,” lawyer of the Greenpeace-Russia Mikhail Kreindlin said.
“No one except Russian border guards of security services can access it,” he said, adding that if someone wants to find anything on an abandoned ship, it could be found there.
“But the question is, what the crew has to do with those findings,” he added.
The Greenpeace activists have been charged with piracy. The committee has alleged that they tried to board an oil platform and stage a protest against oil extraction on the Prirazlomnaya platform in the northern Pechora Sea.
Earlier Wednesday, Greenpeace international executive director Kumi Naidoo sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin via the Russian embassy in the Netherlands.
The letter states that “the Arctic is melting before our eyes, and these brave activists stand in defiance of those who wish to exploit this unfolding crisis to drill for more oil,” the Greenpeace’s website said.
However, presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov declined to comment, saying the Kremlin has not seen the letter.