Concerned officials and family member are hopeful that the two Canadian Greenpeace activists in Russia will soon return home over the weekend after Russian authorities finally announced to give up charges laid against them following a protest outside an oil rig in the Arctic. According to a statement by the Greenpeace spokesperson on Wednesday, Diego Creimer alleged that both Alexandre Paul of Montreal and Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., are among the 29 group members who had their criminal cases dropped under an amnesty that was passed by Russian parliament earlier this month.
Mr. Creimer mentioned during a phone interview that “the families are really relieved. This news is the best Christmas present that the families of the activists could receive.” Many critiques are labeling this move of by Kremlin as an attempt to reduce criticism of Russia’s human rights record before the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. Both Paul and Ruzycki were held in custody for two months along with their fellow activists before they were released in November pending trial. Even though the original charge laid against them was of piracy, it has been downgraded to hooliganism.