News State Tasmania News Tasmanian Greenpeace activist contacts family from a Russian prison

Tasmanian Greenpeace activist contacts family from a Russian prison

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A Tasmanian Greenpeace activist imprisoned in Russia made contact with his family this week, the first time since his arrest more than a month ago.

Colin Russell and 29 other activists were charged with piracy in September after two of them attempted to climb a Russian oil rig in the Arctic.

Russia has reportedly dumped the piracy charges and replaced them with hooliganism.

Mr Russell’s wife says there is more uncertainty with the change of the charge.

Chrissie Russell spoke to her husband for the first time this week since he was held over a month ago.

She says she doubts her 59 year-old partner is aware of the hooliganism charge.

“Does this mean they’re going to detain them for a further two months while they investigate a hooliganism charge?” she said.

“You know, are they pirates, are they hooligans, I mean what are they, what are the Russians calling them?

“Do you understand just how it creates such uncertainty for me?”

Reece Turner from Greenpeace says it is unlikely the activists know about the charge change.

He says they are all struggling in the prison, but Mr Russell was buoyed this week.

“Just two nights ago he was able to make his first call back home to his wife and daughter,” he said.

“I know that his family were really overjoyed to hear from him.

“However there have been no visits to any of the activists or any of the crew members including Colin apart from some consular support and their lawyers.”