Monday, 21 October 2013

Kieron phones home, Early Day Motion, Dutch lodge appeal with ITLOS, Break-in at Greenpeace

Today there was finally some pleasant news. Kieron has been able to talk to his family and his girlfriend last weekend. The Guardian had the story:

""When he finally called on Saturday it was like all my Christmases had come at once," said his mother, Ann Bryan.

"Kieron sounded strong and calm, and told me he was trying to stay positive, though that was sometimes hard due to his not being able to communicate regularly with other people.

"He found the hardest things to cope with were the uncertainty of his future and occupying his time in his cell.

To keep himself busy, she said, Bryan was writing – "letters, thoughts, anything that comes into his mind" – and reading. "He's now finished the only book he has been able to get hold of so far, Jane Eyre, and said he would very much like some more.""

Personally I am looking forward to the publication of a impassioned essay, in the vein of Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

We learn from Nancy that Kieron has maintained his indefatigable sense of humour.

""At one point, I had my back to the car and my shoulders were shaking – my mum thought I was crying, but Kieron was trying to cheer me up, and was telling me things to make me laugh.""

Sounds like Kieron to me.

Kieron's MP Harriet Harman has continued to advance the cause in Parliament. She has tabled Early Day Motion 600 calling for his release. Details will be found here, once the Parliamentary website is updated:

Please encourage your MP to sign the EDM, as well as attend the debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday at 9:30 am. You can easily contact your MP through

The government of the Netherlands has advanced the legal action they began against Russia to secure the release of the ship and its occupants under international law.

"The Dutch government has lodged a rare application at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), asking it to order the immediate release of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and all those who were aboard for the peaceful protest against Gazprom’s Arctic oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya. If ITLOS rules in favour of the Netherlands, the 28 Greenpeace International activists, freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov and freelance videographer Kieron Bryan could go home while they await confirmation of a Russian court date."

Only 21 cases have ever been heard by the Tribunal. This is the first ever for the Dutch. ITLOS has a United Nations mandate.

In Murmansk, bail continues to be denied for the rest of the thirty detainees, including British activist Alex Harris. The Telegraph reported on her situation, including extracts from a letter she wrote to her family:

"Earlier, while addressing the court, she said: “I have been in prison for 22 days for a crime I did not commit. Furthermore I have not seen any document showing my involvement in such a crime.
“The only thing that happened was peaceful protest and I believe the video evidence and Greenpeace’s long history will prove this.”"

Greenpeace were intending to protest in Murmansk during the bail hearings using a mock cage. This was stolen during at break-in at thier offices.

A strange development, which is difficult to interpret at the moment.

Greenpeace's UK executive director, John Sauven, was interviewed today in The Independent.

"Whatever happens to the Arctic, it looks likely that the case against the 30 protesters could drag on for a while – and given Russia’s track record in these matters, there can be no guarantee that justice or reason will prevail."

A petition has been set up on campaigning platform Avaaz to free the Arctic 30, aiming mainly at Russia's partners in the BRICS economic alliance:

Across the pond, friend of Kieron's, Andrew Wallace Chamings, interviewed Russell for

"Have you or your family considered the prospect of traveling to Russia?
Absolutely. We are desperate to go. I think at the moment it's a case of taking the Foreign Office advice. But we are starting to look at visas, and we will go as soon as we can. Mum and Dad want to make sure he's OK and that he knows we are fighting for him."

Ben O'Donnell has organised a benefit gig for Free Kieron at the Windmill, Brixton, on Sunday 9th November at 7 pm. Details to follow.

I've never been but it looks like exactly Kieron's kind of place.

Fundraising continues - vocal supporter Peter Lovett raised £150 with a cake sale at Kingsley School. Remember, you can donate through Paypal.

A fascinating (and long) article, originally written in Russian by Sergei Kharov, has been translated here:

It includes an interview with the adoptive father of Dmitry (Dima) Litvinov, and this quote from Viktoria Zhdanova, lead lawyer for the company Inmarin, expert on the Law of the Sea:

"The Greenpeace activists did not try to take over another person’s property for mercenary aims, and that is precisely the main motivation for piracy. Their action did not presume the gain of personal profit or the seizure of the platform. The charging of the photographer Denis Sinyakov with these offenses looks all the more strange."

I'll end today's update with a simple but touching story from Kent.

"Emily Gilbert, who set up Rowdy and Fancy's Chocolate in Mark Beech with her best friend Lynne, hopes that sending their chocolate to a Greenpeace campaigner in custody over piracy charges will make a difference.

"We read in the news that Kieron Bryan, one of the Arctic 30, is reported to have said in a letter to his family: 'I have run out of books but a care package of food arrived today – chocolate helps!'

"We immediately decided to send Kieron some of ours.""

I hope Kieron enjoys his gourmet chocolate. Of course, we all hope he'll be home soon and free to eat as much chocolate as he likes. Write to your MP, encourage them to sign Early Day Motion 600 and to attend Wednesday's debate - it might help to Free Kieron.