Freelance videographer Kieron Bryan and Greenpeace activist Phillip Ball, who, like the others, face piracy charges, had appealed against an order that they be held through late November. The court, in the northern port city of Murmansk, has already denied bail to four Russians held for the September 18 protest in which a Greenpeace ship was boarded by security forces close to an oil rig in the Arctic. The piracy charges – punishable by up to 15 years’ jail- appear aimed at sending a message that Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of the resource-rich Arctic that Greenpeace says could destroy a pristine environment. Other countries and companies are seeking to exploit Arctic energy resources and face similar concerns from environmentalists. A Finnish minister resigned on Friday over a row about a Greenpeace protest last year. Putin has said the activists were not pirates but that they had violated international law. The head of the Kremlin’s advisory body on human rights has said he would ask prosecutors to withdraw the piracy charges. Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace International, has written to President Vladimir Putin asking to meet him and offering to stand as security in Russia for the release of the activists on bail. Putin’s spokesman said the letter, published in Western media on Wednesday, had not yet arrived at the Kremlin, and said it was unlikely to affect the legal process. “(Putin) probably cannot get involved in a discussion about the investigative activity that is taking place,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters. MINISTER RESIGNS Investigators have said more charges will be pressed against some protesters after drugs and other suspect items were found on the boat, the Arctic Sunrise. Greenpeace denies there were illegal items aboard. Greenpeace, whose activists tried to scale the Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya rig, says the protest was peaceful and calls the piracy charges absurd and unfounded.
11 that Russia must lay criminal charges against the executive before hed be allowed to return home. Uralkali, the worlds biggest producer, roiled the $20 billion potash market at the end of July after withdrawing from a trading venture with its Belarusian partner, accusing it of selling cargoes outside of their marketing agreement. The Russian company said it would increase output, sending shares of fertilizer producers plunging from Toronto to Tel Aviv . All is going as planned: Russia needs to open the case to get the CEO home and release him there after confirming that hes not guilty, Elena Sakhnova, an analyst at VTB Capital in Moscow, said by phone. The 41-year-old Baumgertner was arrested in Minsk on Aug. 26, a month after announcing the end of the potash marketing venture. Charges were filed against him as chairman of Belarusian Potash Co., as the trader was known. After spending a month in a KGB prison, he was put under home arrest in a rented Minsk flat. The charge against Baumgertner has been changed, probably to embezzlement, Lukashenko said last week. Fair Judgment Alexei Basistov, Baumgertners lawyer, said he welcomes Russias move to request his clients handover as he expects fair judgment by the Russian court system. The next step in healing the rift between Russia and Belarus may be the sale by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov of his stake, Sakhnova said. We expect Kerimov to sell his stake in Uralkali regardless of the result of the Baumgertner case as Russia and Belarus need to renew their partnership and Lukashenko doesnt want to work with him. Kerimov, who shares 33 percent in Uralkali with two partners, is getting offers to sell the stake.