27 Dec 2013

Arctic 30 activists leaving Russia

11:39 pm on 27 December 2013

All 26 non-Russians among Greenpeace's Arctic 30 protesters -- including the two New Zealanders - have been cleared to quit the country.

Anthony Perrett shows his passport with a Russian transit visa.

Anthony Perrett shows his passport with a Russian transit visa. Photo: AFP

Greenpeace says many of the foreign activists have already left Russia after being granted an amnesty.

The BBC reports that the activists from 18 countries spent two months in detention and faced hooliganism charges punishable by seven years in jail.

Among the others due to leave Russia today are the ship's captain, Peter Willcox, and a Swedish-American activist of Russian origin, Dima Litvinov, boarded a train to Finland on Friday.

And Tasmanian Colin Russell booked a flight out of Russia after being given an exit visa on Friday. He expected to be in Amsterdam by Saturday.

One of the two New Zealanders in the group, David Haussmann, sent an email to his brother on Friday saying he's about halfway through the process of getting one.

Another New Zealander, Jon Beauchamp, is also waiting on an exit visa.

And Briton Anthony Perrett, 32, will will be home in Wales before New Year, after being held in prison for two months in Murmansk and St. Petersburg.

"I'll be leaving for home in Wales as soon as possible now, extremely proud of what I did three months ago," he said.

All charges facing the detainees from the ice breaker Arctic Sunrise have been dropped since an amnesty on hooliganism was passed by parliament on 18 December.

The group was initially charged with piracy, but the BBC reports the charges were later reduced to hooliganism. The Arctic Sunrise was also seized and taken to Murmansk.