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Updated: Thu, 03 Oct 2013 10:49:35 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Greenpeace piracy case sees Canadian Alexandre Paul charged

Alexandre Paul of Montreal, was a deckhand aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

Alexandre Paul of Montreal, was a deckhand aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

Canadian crew member Alexandre Paul is now among those charged by Russia after its coast guard seized a Greenpeace ship carrying 30 people from 18 countries following a Sept. 18 protest at an offshore oil platform owned by the Russian state-controlled energy company Gazprom, according to Greenpeace.  

- Greenpeace activists, including 2 Canadians, jailed in Russia

- Greenpeace activists not pirates, Vladimir Putin says

Along with Paul, who is from Montreal, Anne Mie Roer Jensen from Denmark and Jonathan Beauchamp, who was born in New Zealand but has lived in South Australia for the past six years, were charged Thursday, bringing the total to 17 charged, Greenpeace said in a statement.

The other Canadian aboard the ship, Paul Ruzycki of Port Colborne, Ont., remains detained.

The 14 other people charged include four crew members of the ship Arctic Sunrise, nine activists and a freelance videographer.

The charges carry a prison terms of up to 15 years upon conviction.

The environmental group says the remaining 13 activists and crew members are expected to be charged later Thursday. 

After the Greenpeace activists and crew were detained, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was obvious they weren't pirates.

"I don't know the details of what went on, but it's completely obvious they aren't pirates," Putin said.

Quoted by Interfax news agency while speaking at a forum on Arctic affairs in late September, Putin defended the coast guard officers, however, saying they "didn't know who was trying to seize the platform" at the time and that in light of "what happened in Kenya, really, anything can happen."

Putin was referring to the attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi last month that resulted in at least 72 deaths. The Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Russian investigators said the ship had violated the 500-metre security zone around the platform and that it was carrying equipment whose purpose was still unclear.

Greenpeace has said its ship stayed out of this zone and its inflatable boats, used by activists to reach the platform, posed no danger.

The activists have been in custody in the northern city of Murmansk since last week.

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