Greenpeace activists sentenced for EU summit breach

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A Belgian court sentenced 10 Greenpeace activists to suspended jail terms of one month and fined them 1,100 euros each for breaching the security perimetre at a European Union summit in 2009.

Despite a heavy security ring, Greenpeace activists managed to jump out of a van at the entrance of the European Council headquarters where leaders of the 27-nation bloc had begun to arrive to discuss climate change.

The green militants were able to shout "wake up! wake up!" before they were grabbed by security agents, days before a major climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Eleven members of Greenpeace were charged with using fake identity badges.

Ten of the activists, from Belgium, Britain, France and the Netherlands, were sentenced by the criminal court in Brussels. The 11th member of the group, a journalist with a press pass, was spared a sentence.

"Greenpeace activists certainly don't think they are above the law, but this conviction is out of proportion to their peaceful protest," said Greenpeace Belgium executive director Michael Genet.

The environmental group is considering an appeal.

© 2011 AFP

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