Markey, Warren Call on Russia to Release American Citizen and Boat Captain Peter Wilcox

Washington (November 18, 2013) - Massachusetts Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren today called on the Russian government to release American citizen Peter Wilcox, who has been held in Russia for more than 60 days for engaging in a peaceful protest at an oil platform in the Pechora Sea. Mr. Wilcox, whose sister lives in Massachusetts and reached out to Senator Markey's office, is being held alongside another U.S. national, Dimitri Litvinov. Russian authorities took them into custody when several members of Mr. Wilcox's vessel scaled an oil platform to call attention to the devastation that could be caused by an oil spill to the sensitive nature of the Arctic environment and the region. During the protest, Mr. Wilcox remained on the boat. The vessel was located in international waters when it was seized, leading the Kingdom of the Netherlands to allege that that the activists' detention by the Russian Government violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Litvinov have recently had charges against them reduced from piracy to criminal hooliganism, which still holds a possible sentence of seven years. 


"Mr. Wilcox has strong ties to our home state of Massachusetts. His sister Sydney Turner lives in Massachusetts, as do several of his cousins. His entire family is deeply concerned about his wellbeing and worry that he is being unjustly punished," write Senators Markey and Warren in a letter to the Ambassador to Russia. "In our view, no good can come from the Russian government continuing to hold Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Litvinov in detention. In the interest of maintaining friendly and cooperative relations between our two countries, we urge the Russian government to dismiss all charges against Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Litvinov and release them into the custody of the American embassy in Russia so that they may swiftly return to their families." 


A copy of the letter can be found HERE