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Fri Oct 31 22:38:18 SAST 2014

Greenpeace's Naidoo freed, then deported

NIVASHNI NAIR | 21 June, 2011 23:45
People hold placards and banners during a climate change vigil organised by Greenpeace outside the parliament building in Oslo December 9, 2009. U.S. President Barack Obama will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on December 10. REUTERS/Thomas Peter (NORWAY CONFLICT POLITICS ENVIRONMENT)
Image by: THOMAS PETER

The head of international environmentalist group Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo, who was arrested on Friday for trespassing when he scaled an Arctic oil rig 120km off the Greenland coast, was yesterday deported after four days in jail.

Naidoo, a former anti-apartheid activist, was flown to Copenhagen, Denmark yesterday and was expected to spend a night in jail ahead of his release in Amsterdam today.

Greenpeace spokesman Szabina Mozes said Naidoo and another activist, Ulvar Arnkvaern, were arrested on Friday morning after breaching an exclusion zone and scaling the Cairn Energy oil rig to hand over the names of more than 50000 people from across the world who have demanded that the operator publish the rig's oil spill response plan.

They were charged and fined 20000 Danish krone (R26094).

Naidoo's brother, Kovi, yesterday said from Durban that the family was relieved.

"We are thankful to all those who have rallied support during this difficult time and we hope his actions will highlight the importance of looking after the earth," Kovi said.

His arrest led to the creation of "Free Kumi" groups on Facebook and Twitter was abuzz with demands for his release.

Naidoo, 45, was arrested several times as a youth leader during apartheid.

He lived in exile in the UK before settling in Amsterdam, where he became the first African to head Greenpeace. - Additional reporting by Khulekani Mazibuko

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