Ana Paula is a 31-year old from Brazil who wanted to peacefully protest Russia's plans to drill the Arctic. Now she, along with her 29 crewmates from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, is locked in a Russian jail with no release in sight. But we can throw her and the rest of her crew a lifeline.
The Greenpeace staff, some in solitary confinement, are now facing fifteen years in prison on trumped up charges of piracy. Their crime? Hanging a banner on a Russian oil rig to protest dangerous deepwater drilling in one of the earth's most beautiful and fragile places. Many western governments have already spoken out, but now Ana Paula and Greenpeace are asking the Avaaz community to help build a truly global outcry.
Together we can call on some of Russia's strongest trade and political partners -- Brazil, India, South Africa and the EU -- to call for the release of the Arctic 30. Let's reach 1 million to free Ana Paula and her friends. Once we hit that mark, Avaaz will project their faces in key public places to keep this story at the top of the news:
This is what Ana Paula's sister said about her: "In many ways, my sister is a typical Brazilian -- talkative, friendly, and full of life. But she's also simply extraordinary, passionate about nature since she was little, and never hesitating to stand up for it even at great personal risk."
Now Ana Paula and her crewmates could lose 15 years of their lives, all for trying to hang a banner on a Gazprom oil rig, the first of its kind in the Arctic. This is an aggressive backlash against defenders of our environment -- stopping oil drilling in the Arctic is about protecting the last great wilderness on earth, where oil spills are almost impossible to clean up.
Greenpeace has hired great lawyers who point out that the 30 were arrested in international waters, making Russia the one violating the international Law of the Sea. But being on the right side of the law may not be enough to regain their freedom, and their dreadful fate may be sealed soon unless the international community lets Russia know that this is a scandal that's not going to go away.
Avaaz has a particularly powerful voice in many of these countries with huge memberships -- 5 million in Brazil alone! If we all weigh in now and build a one million strong petition, Avaazers in Brazil, South Africa, India, and the EU can ramp up the pressure. Sign now to help build 1 million people to help free the Arctic 30:
These Arctic 30 were brave enough to confront the oil industry in one of the last untouched places on earth. They are being silenced and intimidated by the oil industry for their bravery. Our community has stood strong for campaigners across the world -- now let's free these 30.
With hope and determination,
Jamie, Alex, Emma, Lisa, Ricken, Marie, Julien, Diego and the rest of the Avaaz team
Russia accuses Greenpeace crew of 'piracy' in Arctic (BBC)
Dutch sue Russia to recover 'pirate' Greenpeace crew (France24)
What Russia's Treatment of Greenpeace Activists Reveals About its Arctic Policy (The Atlantic)
Legal analysis by International law professor Prof. Dr. Stefan Kirchner
Black Ice: Russia's ongoing oil spill crisis (Report, Greenpeace)