Jailed Cdn. Greenpeace activists' plight 'blown off' by Baird, sister says
The sister of a Canadian Greenpeace activist who has been charged with piracy for participating in a protest at a Russian offshore oil drilling platform says she's disappointed by the lack of support from Ottawa.
Patti Ruzycki-Stirling, the sister of Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., says no representative of the federal government has called the family to offer their condolences or support.
"The only support we've had has been from Paul's local MP, Malcolm Allen, and his office…. Unfortunately, John Baird has just blown off the whole event," Ruzycki-Stirling told CTV News Channel on Saturday.
"It's been incredibly disheartening."
Last month, the Russian Coast Guard seized the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" and all the people aboard – including Canadians Alexandre Paul of Montreal and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont. -- following a Sept. 18 protest at an offshore platform owned by Russian state-controlled energy firm Gazprom.
Last week, the 30 activists were charged with piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and has described the charges as absurd.
"It's just totally off the charts that this type of charge would be laid," said Ruzycki-Stirling.
She said supporters of her brother were rallying in Port Colborne on Saturday to demand the release of the "Arctic 30."
The rally is part of a larger series of protests staged by Greenpeace and its supporters around the world Saturday.
Ahead of protests in several British cities and other parts of the world, including Brazil, Greenpeace international's director Kumi Naidoo called Russia's seizure of the Arctic Sunrise and the arrest of its crew the worst "assault" on the group's environmental activist since 1985.
That’s when French operatives attacked the Greenpeace flagship “Rainbow Warrior” in New Zealand, because activists on board were going to protest against French nuclear tests. One person died in the incident.
Actor Jude Law was among several hundred people gathered Saturday for a demonstration in London, England, where he said Russia's decision to charge the activists with piracy was "ludicrous."
Ruzycki's sister said she has not any had personal contact with her brother or the other activists, and has been communicating to her brother through consulate officials.
"They said he's alive, he hasn't been injured."