A Russian court on Tuesday granted bail to Greenpeace activists from Brazil, Argentina and New Zealand who were arrested two months ago along with 27 other crew members of a Greenpeace ship for attempting to storm an oil rig in remote Arctic waters.

St Petersburg’s Primorsky court ruled that Brazilian Ana Paula Maciel, Argentinian Miguel Hernan Perez Orsi and New Zealander David Haussmann will be freed, once 2 million rouble (61,000 dollars) bail money is paid, Greenpeace representative Violetta Ryabko told DPA.

The three are the first foreigners to get bail of the 30 detained crew members of the Arctic Sunrise, the ship from which the organisation launched its protest against oil drilling in the Arctic.

On Monday, three Russian crew members — photographer Denis Sinyakov, Greenpeace spokesman Andrei Allakhverdov and ship doctor Yekaterina Zaspa were also given bail.

However, the ship’s Australian radio operator, Colin Russell, was denied bail and ordered to remain in detention until February 24.

The court had sided with prosecutors, who argued that Russell could flee the country or interfere in the investigation — a decision that was harshly criticised by Greenpeace representatives, who pointed out that the Australian’s passport had been confiscated.

None of those given bail have been freed. Greenpeace told DPA that this would take up to two days once investigators hand over a payment instruction. By Tuesday afternoon, no such instruction had been received, she said by telephone from St Petersburg.

Russian investigators first charged the people on board the Arctic Sunrise with piracy, after coast guards seized the vessel. The charges were later changed to hooliganism.

Greenpeace has called the charges absurd, and has demanded that all the detainees be freed immediately.

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