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Ruzycki family reacts to news from Russia

The Port Colborne family of jailed Greenpeace activist Paul Ruzycki is terrified for his welfare. Ruzycki was one of 30 people now charged with piracy after boarding an oil rig in the Russian arctic. Lauran Sabourin reports.

Patti Sterling knew her brother Paul Ruzycki was in trouble when she received the final tweet from the Greenpeace vessel “Arctic Sunrise” on September 18th. It told of how the Russian coast guard stormed the ship with guns drawn and said: “The crew are on their knees. On the deck. With guns at their heads and they’re breaking down the communications door.”

Ruzicki was the second in command. He was thrown in jail. Denied his lupus medication for days. He’s still denied access to a phone or computer. The only way he can talk to his family in Port Colborne is through a Russian intermediary.

Sterling: “He said, tell my family I’m alive. She said, is there anything we can get for you. And he said please get me potable drinking water. There isn’t clean water to drink.”

Jesse Reid has served with Paul on Greenpeace missions elsewhere: “Initially I didn’t think it would be that big a deal because it’s something Greenpeace activiists are used to.”

Patti Stirling says her brother has been arrested and detained before maybe for a day or two. But never thrown in jail, charged with piracy and left to wonder what tomorrow will bring

In place of ribbons, Patti has posted Paul’s picture on trees in her neighbourhood. His poster is in several shop windows downtown. On Saturday, in a number of towns around the world there will be a global day of support for the “Arctic 30″ as they’re called. The event in Port Colborne will be held at noon at Lock 8 Park.

A piracy conviction carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in a Russian prison. Greenpeace has appealed but Patti Sterling found out Thursday that the appeal for her brother and the others probably won├Ęt be heard until at least next week.


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