Minister for Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino is in close contact with the Embassy in Moscow and Consulate General in St. Petersburg regarding the case of Greenpeace activist Cristian D’Alessandro, who was arrested in the Russian Federation.
The Consul General in St. Petersburg has been informed that all the arrested were questioned by a judge and charged with the crime of piracy. In this regard, Minister Bonino expressed the strong hope “that the inquest clarifies the facts and allows for the rapid conclusion of the affair, taking into consideration the peaceful nature of the protest”. The Consul General received a telephone call from D’Alessandro, who confirmed he was in good health, and is also arranging for a meeting between him and his parents who will be going to Russia in the 3rd week of October. The Russian authorities have assured their full willingness to authorize consular and family visits.
On Minister Bonino’s instructions, the Ambassador in Moscow convened a meeting with the ambassadors of Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK, enlarged to the EU Delegation and the Lithuanian Presidency, to coordinate targeted initiatives on behalf of the rapid release of those arrested. Coordination is also continuing by the Group for Consular Protection, convened by the EU Delegation, with the inclusion of the ten non-community embassies whose citizens are also involved (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the USA). The affair was also treated today in a meeting of the EU ambassadors.
As in the case of D’Alessandro, through its diplomatic network, the foreign ministry is also directly monitoring over 7,000 Italian nationals abroad – 3,103 of whom are under arrest – in need of emergency or legal assistance, and keeping their families informed. As many other cases are being followed individually and on a daily basis, and in some cases result in financial assistance from diplomatic-consular missions abroad. With regard to the problem of contested minors, of an approximate 330 cases involving the abduction of Italian (or dual citizen) children abroad, approximately half have been resolved positively.