Activist Peter Willcox returns to U.S. after Russian imprisonment

The Norwalk native resident says he will now take about two months off to be with his family. But his advocacy against drilling in the Arctic will continue.

NORWALK - Greenpeace activist and Norwalk resident Peter Willcox is back in the United States after months of Russian imprisonment, Greenpeace officials say.

Willcox, captain of the Arctic Sunrise, was one of 30 activists arrested back in September for protesting a Russian oil rig in the Arctic Ocean. The entire crew was captured by Russian authorities.

Charges against the group were dropped this week and Willcox received his exit visa Friday.

Willcox flew into Boston on Friday and is expected to return to Norwalk on New Year's Day.

In an exclusive interview with News 12, Willcox said he cannot wait to get back into his ordinary routine, spending time with his family and working as a sailing instructor at Sound Sailing Center when classes resume in April.

Willcox says the worst part of his ordeal was spending 23 hours a day in isolation.

He says Sen. Richard Blumenthal played a key role to help free the imprisoned protesters.

“We wrote to the Russian government through its ambassador,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “We were in regular touch with the Department of State advocating for [Willcox] and for the other American citizens who were unlawfully, unfairly, unjustly imprisoned by the Russian government.”

The Norwalk native says he will now take about two months off to be with his family. But his advocacy against drilling in the Arctic will continue.

“Certainly, I'll be a little bit more careful about the way we do actions and how we undertake things in the future,” said Willcox. “But if the alternative is giving up and turning over the planet to the oil companies, I'm not prepared to do that."

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