The group of Greenpeace activists, including two New Zealanders, who were arrested by Russian authorities for hooliganism, are inching closer to leaving the country as criminal cases against them are being closed.

The protesters, dubbed the Arctic 30, spent two months in jail after a protest against Arctic drilling.

Earlier this month the Russian parliament backed an amnesty bill to drop charges against them.

At the time, one of the New Zealanders detained, David Haussmann said group members were trying to contain their excitement.


Mr Haussmann and Jon Beauchamp were arrested with 26 Greenpeace activists and two freelance journalists in September after two activists scaled an oil rig in the Barents Sea owned by Gazprom to protest against oil prospecting.

A Greenpeace spokesman said yesterday Russia had closed the case against one crew member, named by the BBC as Anthony Perrett from Wales, who is preparing to leave Russia.

The move should pave the way for the other 29 crew to have their cases closed and allow the foreign nationals including to leave Russia, AFP reported.

However, it was unclear when the 26 non-Russian activists would be allowed to leave the country, or what would happen to the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, which remained impounded in Murmansk.

The 30 protesters were released from prison last month on bail, but were not allowed to return home.