Finnish researcher arrested in Russia

Seppo Knuutila.  Image: YLERussian authorities have detained and interrogated a representative of Finland’s Environmental Administration (Syke) in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Special researcher Seppo Knuutila was arrested on Wednesday, when he went with Russian colleagues to take water samples from the Luga River to measure phosphate levels.

He was interviewed for twelve hours before he was released, but was then re-arrested at the border.

He was then interviewed for a further eight hours, and had to surrender his computer to the Russian authorities. He was able to return to Finland with the assistance of the Finnish consulate in Saint Petersburg.

Syke said that Knuutila was part of a Finnish-Russian research group taking samples from the river when he was arrested. The local guard unit responsible for security at a fertiliser factory arrested Knuutila, before alerting immigration authorities when he did not have his passport with him.

EuroChem, which owns the factory, claimed he strayed without permission onto factory land.

According to Knuutila, he had remained within the agreed research area. He did not have his passport with him, which led to a delay while his identity was confirmed, according to Syke. In addition to Knuutila, other researchers were also interviewed.

The researchers were able to take their samples to Finland, but when they left some samples were still to be taken, and Knuutila’s computer was confiscated.


Russian factory denies phosphorous discharges, YLE News

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