What to Read Next

Ex-Beatle McCartney asks Putin to help free Greenpeace activists

14 November 2013
Singer Paul McCartney performs during an impromptu concert to promote his album "New" at Covent Garden in London October 18, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown
Singer Paul McCartney performs during an impromptu concert to promote his album "New" at Covent Garden in London October 18, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney said on Thursday he had written to President Vladimir Putin to enlist his help in securing the release of a group of Greenpeace activists detained in Russia.

Twenty-eight activists and two others face seven years in jail over a protest by the environmental group against oil drilling in the Arctic in which some tried to scale a Russian rig. McCartney said they were not anti-Russian or violent.

"It would be great if this misunderstanding could be resolved and the protesters can be home with their families in time for Christmas. We live in hope," McCartney wrote on his website http://www.paulmccartney.com/

He said Putin, whom he met when he first performed in Moscow in 2003, had not replied to the October 14 letter beginning "Dear Vladimir" but the Russian ambassador to London had responded by saying their plight was not properly represented by the media.

"Vladimir, millions of people in dozens of countries would be hugely grateful if you were to intervene to bring about an end to this affair," he wrote in the letter.

Quoting from the Beatles' song "Back in the USSR", which he composed 45 years ago, he wrote: "That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: 'Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it's good to be back home'."

"Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?" he asked.

The Prirazlomnaya oil rig which the Greenpeace activists tried to scale on September 18 is owned by state energy company Gazprom and is at the heart of a drive to tap into the Arctic's natural resources to help expand Russia's economy.

The 30 face charges of hooliganism. Investigators have said they have dropped piracy charges, which carry a 15-year jail term, but Greenpeace says those charges still formally stand.

The Netherlands has asked an international tribunal to order the release of the group, which include people from 18 nations.

McCartney has previously expressed support for the Pussy Riot protest group which performed a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral last year against Putin's close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Appeals for leniency by McCartney and other international artists including Madonna failed to help them escape a two-year jail sentence. Two band members remain in jail.

Critics accuse Putin of using the courts to punish opponents but the Kremlin denies this.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)

“I HATE Annuities. And You Should Too.”

If you have a $500,000 portfolio & own an annuity, you have a lot at stake. Download “Annuity Insights” by Forbes columnist Ken Fisher’s firm.

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2016

Banks are offering 0% APR for up to 15 months right now. Don't pay interest on your purchases and transfer a balance today. Apply securely here.

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Is your insurance comp Laughing Behind Your Back?

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Reach your goal to quit with help from Nicorette

Learn about Nicorette gum's patented dual-coated technology.  Help reduce your withdrawal symptoms to help you kick your smoking habit.

An Overlooked Method To Pay Off Your Credit Card

If you're paying credit card interest, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars by transferring your balance to this no-fee card.

What's your home really worth in today's market?

Find out what your home is really worth in 2016 with this free calculator, instantly.

Block Advisors All You Need for Complicated Taxes

At Block Advisors, we’ve seen it all. With an average of 15 years' experience, we can handle any level of tax complexity. Learn how we can help you.

Switch and save!

Switch to Progressive and you could save an average of $548.

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points. Apply for Your Card Today.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.