McCartney urges Putin to free Greenpeace detainees

LONDON (AP) — Paul McCartney is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to release 30 people arrested during a Greenpeace protest at an Arctic oil rig almost two months ago.

In letter addressed "Dear Vladimir," the former Beatle tells Putin that he wrote the song "Back in the U.S.S.R," in the 1960s, "back when it wasn't fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country."

Quoting the song's line "Gee it's good to be back home," McCartney asks: "Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?"

McCartney posted the letter Thursday on his official website.

The 28 protesters, plus a photographer and a videographer working for Greenpeace were detained aboard their ship, the "Arctic Sunrise," on Sept. 18.

They were initially charged with piracy, later downgraded to hooliganism.

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