NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk captain of a Greenpeace ship and another activist were denied bail Monday by Russia in a case involving the arrests of 30 environmentalists on charges of piracy over a protest at an Arctic oil drilling platform.
Peter Willcox, a South Norwalk native, appeared in a Murmansk court with another activist, Camila Speziale.
Willcox was the captain of the Arctic Sunrise when it was seized last month by armed men from the Russian security forces. He was also the captain of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985 when it was bombed in New Zealand by the French secret service, killing Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira.
"Most people try to do at least something for the greater good, sometimes occasionally, sometimes for sustained periods. Rarely do people devote their entire life trying to make the world a better place. Peter is one of those rare people," Willcox’s wife Maggie Willcox said. "He is a hero not a pirate. I appeal to the common sense and conscience of the Russian authorities to let my husband and the rest of the people from the Arctic Sunrise come home."
After the ship was seized last month, Willcox refused a demand to sail the Arctic Sunrise toward the Russian port city of Murmansk. Instead the ship was towed.
Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace U.S. said, "I sailed with Peter in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and he was a deeply professional man of integrity. He was in the Russian Arctic as part of his lifelong commitment to environmental activism, and America should be proud to call him one of our own. His continued imprisonment on these ridiculous charges is a travesty."
Speaking in court Monday, Speziale, 21, from Argentina said: "I'm innocent and I do not understand what I'm accused of. I don't have anything against your country. Russia and Argentina have good relations. But now I'm arrested for something I haven't done.I really want to come back to my country and continue working and studying. I'm considered to be dangerous for society, but how it can be so? The whole world is demanding my release. Gracias."