Stop Climate Chaos

Real leaders face Christmas jail time while politicians flee climate crime scene

Our delegation being evicted
© Scanpix / Jens Norgaard Larsen

Four of our activists face the prospect of Christmas in jail this year over charges relating to a protest at the Heads of State dinner at the Copenhagen climate summit. But the leaders who did practically nothing about the greatest threat to our planet got away.

We're calling for the immediate release of our people, please help us by writing to the Danish Embassy today.

The activists joined Heads of State from over 120 countries en route to the banquet at the Danish Parliament. Arriving in a three-vehicle convoy they stepped out onto the red carpet as representatives of the millions of people around the world who wanted a fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty to head-off climate catastrophe.

Holding up banners reading: "Politicians Talk, Leaders Act", the activists demanded action and not merely words from Presidents and Prime Ministers during their Friday session of the climate summit.

While the perpetrators of the real crime fled the country on private jets, it is shocking that the Danish authorities have decided to detain, without trial, four peaceful protesters over Christmas.

Their families will spend a bleak festive season knowing that their loved ones will be languishing in isolation for acting to save the climate. For standing up in defense of the hundreds of millions of people and countless species which will be severely affected by catastrophic climate change.

Three of the activists have children at home who will be missing a parent this Christmas. The activists - Juan Lopez de Uralde, Nora Christiansen and Christian Schmutz - are the climate heroes who brought home to world leaders attending last Thursday's banquet with Queen Margrethe the message that leaders were failing the climate.

Yesterday, police also arrested Joris Thijssen, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace. He is being held under the same conditions as the other three activists.

Noted British legal expert Richard Harvey has issued the following statement in support of the four being released from custody:

When I heard this morning that the Danish authorities plan to keep three Greenpeace activisits in isolation until 7 January, my immediate response was to recall the Trial Scene from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland where Alice has this memorable dialogue with the Queen of Hearts:

    Queen of Hearts: Now then, are you ready for your sentence?
    Alice: But there has to be a verdict first.
    Queen of Hearts: Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.
    In any civilized society, of which I had always taken Denmark to be a leading example, the right to bail (provisional release) pending trial, particularly for an offence which does not involve the use or threat of violence, is guaranteed.

Article 9(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides in material part that: "... It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement."

Article 5(3) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms provides in material part that: "Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with ... this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial."

By determining that the four shall be detained throughout the holiday period and by further by placing them in conditions of virtual isolation (as I understand matters), the authorities appear to be acting in violation of European and International norms of human rights in a manner which only the Queen of Hearts and not the Queen of Denmark could approve.

Greenpeace is a non-violent organisation. Greenpeace activists never try to avoid the legal consequences of their actions. The activists look forward to presenting their arguments in court. But keeping them apart from their families and loved ones over Christmas and New Year is both inhumane and out of all proportion to what they did.

Juantxo, Joris, Nora, and Christian were willing to risk jail time to do something about climate change. Now they need your help. Please take a few minutes to send a letter to the Danish Embassy requesting their release on bail.

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