Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

My statement on detained jounalist Kieron Bryan - 09.10.13

I strongly believe that my constituent Kieron Bryan should not be in detention in Russia and am calling on the Russians to release him immediately. He is not a criminal or a threat to the Russian state. He is not even a member of Greenpeace; he is a professional journalist working on an assignment for them.
I am calling on the Russian authorities to release Kieron, asking for them to agree that his parents can visit him in detention, and asking them to help his parents get a visa so they can travel to Murmansk to visit him.

I am also asking them to allow Kieron’s parents to speak to him on the phone. It is unfair that they have not been able to speak to him during the past 3 weeks.
I have met his parents and brother. This is an extremely worrying time for Kieron’s family. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare that their child is arrested and held on the other side of the world. I know that the Foreign Secretary and his ministers, the Foreign Office and consular officials are doing everything they can to help Kieron.

Background notes:

Kieron Bryan is a freelance journalist from Peckham, London working on a 3 week assignment as a videographer for Greenpeace.

He is currently being held in pre-trial detention in Russia, following his arrest on a Greenpeace ship, and has been charged with piracy which carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

30 people in total have been detained by the Russian authorities – 28 ‘activists’ and 2 journalists (a Russian photographer and Kieron) – known collectively as the ‘Arctic 30’.

18 Sept - Two Greenpeace activists were arrested as they took peaceful direct action against Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig to stop the company from conducting oil drilling operations in the Arctic waters of the Pechora Sea.

19 Sept – The Russian Coast Guard illegally boarded Greenpeace's ship, the Arctic Sunrise, whilst in international waters. Those on board – including Kieron Byron - were held under armed guard for 5 days while the ship was towed to the port of Murmansk in North West Russia.

26 Sept – All 30 appeared at a preliminary court hearing in Murmansk and were remanded for two months, facing investigation for possible piracy.

2 Oct – Kieron Bryan, and others, charged with piracy.

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