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Key raises Greenpeace NZers with Putin

Wednesday 9 Oct 2013 8:18 a.m.

Prime Minister John Key has used a quick chat with Russian President Vladimir Putin to raise the issue of two New Zealand Greenpeace activists arrested in Russia.

David John Haussmann and Jonathon Beauchamp are among 30 protesters arrested last month after two of their group tried to board an Arctic oil platform.

Mr Key, who is in Bali for the APEC conference, spoke to Mr Putin briefly following the APEC leaders' photo, the New Zealand Herald reports.

"He was aware that there were New Zealanders, he was aware that [Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully] had raised it, and he gave me an assurance it would flow through the appropriate Russian judicial system," Mr Key says.

The 30 protesters have been charged with piracy, which carries a maximum jail term of 15 years, although Mr Putin has previously said it's clear they're not pirates.

Mr Key said those travelling to another country need to assess the risks of their actions.

"We are going to do our best to continue to advocate for them and make sure they are properly looked after, but in the end we can't interfere in their system any more than we would interfere with a Russian citizen who was facing charges in New Zealand."

Greenpeace has complained about the conditions the protesters are being held in.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade last week told NZ Newswire that Haussmann and Beauchamp were fine and there were no concerns about their detention conditions.

A Russian court has ordered most of the group to be detained for two months, and on Wednesday (NZT) denied three Russians bail.

Bail hearings for Beauchamp and Haussman will take place later this week.

NZN

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