MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's main investigative agency said Wednesday that it has dropped piracy charges against jailed Greenpeace activists and charged them instead with hooliganism.
Piracy is punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years in prison. Hooliganism charges can carry up to seven years in prison.
The Investigative Committee's statement follows a comment by President Vladimir Putin, who said last month that he doesn't think that the Greenpeace activists were pirates.
A group of 28 Greenpeace activists, a Russian photographer and a British videographer have been held since their ship, the "Arctic Sunrise" was seized by the Russian coast guard after protesting outside a Gazprom-owned oil rig Sept. 18.
There was no immediate comment from the Greenpeace on the latest move by Russian investigators.