Greenpeace protesters won’t have to walk the plank but hooliganism charges are no light matter

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Can’t say for sure if a charge of hooliganism can be laid in this country. The cops round up hooligans, sure enough (although not often enough) and there are all sorts of things to charge the buggers with.

A broad range of penalties can be imposed, too, including crushing their cars.

But Alf has become very attracted to the specific offence of hooliganism since the Russians decided the Greenpeace bunch should face such charges.

He saw nothing wrong with charging them with piracy, as it happens, and was going to offer his services if any of them needed prodding with a cutlass to make them walk the plank, preferably into shark-infested waters.

But being banged up for being a hooligan has a nice ring to it.

We can tell you now (because Mrs Grumble did the Wikipedia search ) that…

in the Soviet Union the word khuligan was used to refer to scofflaws or political dissenters, “hooliganism” (rus. Хулига́нство) was listed as a criminal offense (similar to “disorderly conduct” in some other jurisdictions) and used as a catch-all charge for prosecuting unapproved behavior.[2][8] “Hooliganism” is defined generally in the Criminal Code of Russia as an “average gravity” crime.[9]

Matthias Rust was convicted of hooliganism, among other things, for his 1987 Cessna landing in Red Square.

More recently, the same charge has been leveled against members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot for which three members have each received a two-year sentence on 17 August 2012. Hooliganism charges have also been levelled against the Greenpeace protestors from the Arctic Sunrise in October 2013.[10]

That last sentence shows Wikipedia is right up with the play.

Alf was tuned into TV3 when he learned (here) that Russia’s main investigative agency had dropped piracy charges against jailed Greenpeace activists and charged them with hooliganism instead.

However, Greenpeace says the new charge is “still wildly disproportionate” and they will contest it.

“The Arctic 30 are no more hooligans than they were pirates,” says Greenpeace Russia’s Vladimir Chuprov.

“We will contest the trumped up charge of hooliganism as strongly as we contested the piracy allegations.”

A group of 28 Greenpeace activists, a Russian photographer and a British videographer have been held by the Russians since their ship, the Arctic Sunrise was seized by the Russian coast guard after protesting outside a Gazprom-owned oil rig September 18.

New Zealanders David John Haussmann and Jonathon Beauchamp are part of the group facing charges.

According to TV3, the Investigative Committee’s statement regarding the scrapping of the piracy charges and the laying of hooliganism charges appeared to herald a quick release of the activists.

Dunno if Alf would draw that conclusion.

Look what happened to Pussy Riot.

And someone at Greenpeace NZ said hooliganism is still a very serious charge.

The piracy charges carried a 15-year prison term, while hooliganism is usually punished by up to seven years in jail.

Banging up someone for seven years for hooliganism should be something that happens here.

Readers are sure to be able to think of all sorts of examples of dubious behaviour that should be punished in this way.

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