Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Kieron moved to St Petersburg

It has been confirmed that Kieron and the rest of the Arctic 30 have been moved from Murmansk to St Petersburg.

Telegraph correspondent Roland Oliphant posted this story on Tuesday:

"Twenty-eight Greenpeace activists and two journalists jailed in Russia have arrived in three separate jails in St Petersburg, the Telegraph has learnt.
The prison train believed to be carrying the group pulled into St Petersburg's Ladozhsky railway station just after midday after a gruelling 27 hour journey from Murmansk on Tuesday afternoon."

The BBC article includes details of the motivation behind this.

"On Monday, investigators said the move meant the detainees were closer to the appropriate court."

Greenpeace's press release mentions the quarantine process that is commonplace during Russian prison transfers. It also discusses the upcoming deadline for the application of extension to the pre-trial detention period - this is currently due to expire on November 24th.

"After a prison transfer it is routine procedure in Russia that detainees are quarantined for infectious diseases. This may be a relatively short period, but lawyers will not have access to the detainees during this period.

On November 24, the two-month detention period imposed on the Arctic 30 by the Leninsky District Court of Murmansk comes to an end. If Russia’s Investigative Committee wishes to extend this period it must make an application to the relevant District Court in St. Petersburg no later than one week in advance (November 17)."

Other media outlets covered the story. This Euronews piece includes an interview with a Greenpeace Russia spokesman:

This piece from Russian state news agency RIA Novosti states that the charges have been downgraded to hooliganism, despite official confirmation of this.

The exact status of the charges remains a point of confusion. For the moment we understand that all of the thirty remain charged with both piracy and hooliganism. Last week the head of the Investigative Committee stated that some of the thirty would have additional charges of resisting arrest placed against them. This was reported in the Moscow Times:

"Russian prosecutors will level further charges of resisting arrest against several of the 30 people detained following a Greenpeace protest at an Arctic oil rig, the Investigative Committee said.

"Along with indictments for hooliganim, several of the intruders will be charged with resisting law enforcement officers," spokesman Vladimir Markin told in an interview Thursday."

Markin also said that the reason all thirty had been charged equally was that they had refused to co-operate with the investigation:

""They all refused to speak. Therefore investigators were forced to assess their actions on the basis of available evidence," Markin said.

It was for this same reason that the journalists and ship cook were charged with the same crimes as the activists, he added.

"If at the first stage of the investigation a photographer or cook had testified, for example, 'I was sitting near my pot and stewing a Russian borshch for our foreign guests,' then everything would have been clear," Markin said."

Kieron has been moved to Sizo 4 in St Petersburg, as this tweet from Greenpeace confirms.

No photographs of video of any of the Arctic 30 during the prison transfer have been released. This set on flickr from Greenpeace shows some of the prison vans involved, and the 'Kresty' dentention centre (Sizo 1).

Before this news of the move broke, Russell appeared on Channel Five News:

The families of the British detainees met with David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe, as this Guardian article reports:

"Clifford Harris, whose daughter Alexandra is also in the captive group, said: "Behind the scenes things are happening. Maybe not as fast as some people would like but it is a ball that is rolling.""

Free Kieron events coming up include:

Last weekend's Free Kieron benefit gig raised £1200. Thanks to everyone involved in organizing and running these events. Let's keep fighting to Free Kieron.