By Steve Purcell on
The campaign to free Greenpeace protesters jailed in Russia is intensifying, with celebrities stepping up to call for action.
The 30 protesters were arrested in international waters almost two months ago during a Greenpeace protest at an Arctic oil rig.
On Friday Greenpeace published on Twitter a message from Madonna in which the singer called for the public to make themselves heard, writing “Let’s bring these people home!”
Also on Friday, actress Marion Cotillard joined a group of environmental activists in Paris to cage themselves in protest against the arrests in Russia.
On Thursday Sir Paul McCartney published an impassioned open letter to Vladimir Putin on his website. Beginning the letter “Dear Vladimir”, McCartney underlined the positive intent of the protesters, and closed with a reference to his Beatles past:
“Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for the White Album, back when it wasn’t fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country. That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: "Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it’s good to be back home.
“Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?”
The arrests have been widely criticized. All 30 people aboard the Greenpeace icebreaker were initially charged with piracy, but the charges were latter reduced to hooliganism. Under Russian law, the penalty for those found guilty could be up to seven years in jail.
At the arctic30support website, hundres of further celebrities – including Ewan McGregor, Flea, Juliette Lewis and Daryl Hannah – have been leaving messages of support. Visit the site to find out how you can get involved.
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