Ciznar Demands That Greenpeace Activists Be Released from Custody

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Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, December 4 (TASR) – Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar has issued an order to release all 12 Greenpeace activists from custody, TASR learnt on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Ciznar said that the activists, who last week climbed a mining tower at Novaky mine (Trencin region) to protest against coal mining, have been kept in custody unjustly.

Greenpeace welcomed the decision of the Prosecutor-General’s Office to release the activists who are still being charged, but will now be prosecuted at liberty.

“We’re very pleased that the prosecutor-general acknowledged that there was no point in keeping the activists in custody. We also appreciate the fact that he acted quickly and that the activists were finally released after seven days behind bars. It seems that we’re still a country in which people won’t be treated like criminals for protecting the environment and human health,” said Greenpeace Slovakia director Ivana Kohutkova.

However, according to her, the matter isn’t over yet because the activists are still accused of damaging and threatening the operation of a generally beneficial facility, for which they could be sent to prison for between one and five years. “We believe that in the next step the activists will be freed completely because a peaceful protest against expensive and harmful coal [mining] is justified. We ask the Slovak Government to start sincerely dealing with a solution to this problem, which, unlike the activists, really threatens the health of the country as well as the public,” she added.

Prievidza District Court (Trencin region) decided on Sunday (December 2) that the Greenpeace activists from several countries should be prosecuted in custody in connection with their actions last week when they climbed a mining tower at Novaky mine with banners to protest against coal mining in Slovakia. The judge said that there were well-founded concerns that the activists, if released, could engage in similar moves, given that their activities against Upper Nitra Mines have recently seen an “escalating trend”, with last week’s protest resulting in the suspension of mining activities at Novaky for five hours.

The court’s verdict was condemned by the Opposition but also by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD).