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Journalists Call For Russian Release Of Greenpeace Photographer

Denis Sinyakov, who was charged with an illegal attempt to encroach on the Prirazlomnaya oil platform, is seen during a court appearance in Murmansk on September 26.
Several dozen Russian journalists have rallied in St. Petersburg for the release of a Russian photographer detained along with the crew of a Greenpeace ship during a protest against Arctic oil drilling.

During the October 13 protest, blindfolded photographers and other journalists held placards reading "Who is next?" and "Photographer is not a pirate."

Denis Sinyakov was photographing the Greenpeace protest -- which included an attempt to scale a Gazprom oil platform -- when he was detained, along with 29 Greenpeace activists last month.

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They were detained by the Russian Coast Guard on piracy charges after several activists tried to scale a Gazprom oil drilling platform.

They could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

The group have been placed in pre-trial detention in Murmansk until late November.

A court has turned down pleas to release Sinyakov and others on bail.

International rights groups and the Dutch government, whose flag the Greenpeace icebreaker "Arctic Sunrise" was flying, have challenged the Russian actions.

The chairman of Russia's Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, has said there is "not the slightest basis" for piracy charges in the case.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the environmental protesters' actions constituted a crime but conceded on September 25 that "they are not pirates."

Based on reporting by AFP and ITAR-TASS