@FreeKieron and the #Arctic30: Journalist faces charges of piracy in Russia

I’m not behind the times with this story, it was printed in the Cornish and Devon Post on October 10.

The journalist / freelance videographer was working out a short term contract with Greenpeace. Thousands have given support, from family to celebrities and every friend and stranger in between.

Shebbear videographer charged with ‘piracy’ during contract with Greenpeace

THE brother of Shebbear freelance videographer Kieron Bryan, who has been charged with piracy by Russian state prosecutors during his role aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, has created a Facebook page to ‘Free Kieron’.

WEB-Shebbear-piracy

The crew of Arctic Sunrise protested against the Gazprom Arctic drilling platform Prirazlomnaya on September 18 and two activists tried to climb the side of the platform and hang a banner. A conviction for piracy carries with it a maximum 15 years in jail.

ONLINE SUPPORT

Russell Bryan (Kieron’s brother) and wife Jessica formed the Facebook page to keep friends and family up to date on Kieron’s situation.
“So many people have been offering support, the Facebook page has been a really good way to keep in touch,” said Russell. “Kieron is a really popular guy.”
Of the 30 strong crew, 28 of which are activists, along with a freelance photographer and Keiron, 14 have been charged with ‘piracy’ and are being detained in a Russian jail. However, Greenpeace has said brandishing the “peaceful activists” as pirates is “extreme and disproportionate”.
It has also been reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has openly announced he does not believe the activists to be pirates, though has stated they may have still broken international law.
Keiron, who has previously worked for a national newspaper, was on a short term contract for the ship’s journey, to film what took place.
“As a freelance worker, it was a chance to get three weeks work,” continued Russell. “Kieron lives in London and has covered quite a bit abroad, he did Barrack Obama’s election and re-election and the Detroit car industry, so he does travel, not often, but regularly.

UNFORESEEN

“At the time, he had the choice of two contracts, but chose the Greenpeace one as it offered better job security for the three weeks. It had more risks, but as a freelance journalist a chance of work isn’t often. The risk just turned into something unforeseen.”
His parents, Andy and Ann, have described Keiron as “a very kind, caring individual” with environmental issues “very close to his heart”.
The family received a letter from Kieron last week; Russell explained it had been “nice to finally hear something” but the letter had been “hard reading” as the conditions the ‘Arctic 30’ are being kept in “are not good”.

ABOMINABLE

Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said:  “A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience.  Any claim that these activists are pirates is as absurd as it is abominable. It is utterly irrational, it is designed to intimidate and silence us, but we will not be cowed.
“The courageous crew of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise protested at that Gazprom rig because they felt compelled to bear witness to the slow but unrelenting destruction of the Arctic. Thirty men and women, some young, others not-so-young, all with a moral compass, actually did something about it.
“Just as in years past, the resolve and courage required to win a better future for our children requires personal sacrifice, a sacrifice the Arctic 30 are now making. They made their stand in the interests of us all. Now we must come together and stand with them.”
Communications worker Alex Harris, formerly of Torrington, is also among the ‘Arctic 30’ crew. She sent a text message to her parents Cliff and Linda stating “she was safe” when the crew were first taken into custody.
Worldwide protests took place over the weekend, in London celebrities such as Jude Law (actor) and Damon Albarn (Blur frontman) joined more than 800 people outside of the Russian Embassy.
It is believed the Arctic 30 will be held in custody until November 24, pending the investigation.

LOCAL SUPPORT

A coffee morning is being held in Bude on Saturday (October 12) at the United Reform Church Hall from 10.30am, organised by Bryan family friend Fran Lovett. There will be tea, coffee, cakes and stalls to support the ‘Free Kieron’ cause.
Fran said: “A lot of people want to be pro-active and help, but we can’t do anything politically. We are raising money to support the campaign to free the Arctic 30.
“Andy and Ann are so lovely, and I’ve known Kieron for around 14 years, it’s horrendous what has happened to him, he doesn’t deserve it and it doesn’t feel like people are listening. Kieron is not an activist, he was there for a job, it’s not right.
“People around here know Kieron, he grew up here and went to school, we all know he is definitely not a pirate.”

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