Suspects in the Arctic Sunrise case could be pardoned under the draft amnesty submitted to the Russian State Duma only after the case is considered in court, member of the Russian Human Rights Council Igor Pastukhov said.

"Even under the parts of the article 213 [of the Russian Criminal Code on hooliganism], which stipulate the punishment of over five years - this is an obligatory condition of the amnesty - all convicted of hooliganism are eligible for release only after their case is tried in court," Pastukhov said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The amnesty is not applied to the Criminal Code Article 213 on its own, Pastukhov said.

The Russian Coast Guard stopped the Arctic Sunrise, a vessel operated by Greenpeace, in the Pechora Sea on September 19 after some environmentalists attempted to protest against oil extraction on the Prirazlomnaya drilling platform. The Arctic Sunrise was towed to Murmansk on September 24. It was carrying a crew composed of thirty citizens of several countries, including three Russian citizens.

The environmentalists were accused of piracy and sentenced to two months in custody. The Investigations Committee later reclassified their actions as hooliganism. Initially, all detainees were kept in detention facilities in Murmansk. They were transferred to St. Petersburg on November 12.

On November 18-28, St. Petersburg courts released the Arctic Sunrise crewmembers on a two-million-ruble ($60,500) bail each.

The icebreaker was seized by the authorities and remains in the port of Murmansk.

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