MPs call for immediate release of journalist held in Russia - Press Gazette

MPs call for immediate release of journalist held in Russia

Five MPs have signed an Early Day Motion condemning Russian attempts to prosecute journalist Kieron Bryan.

The motion was lodged in advance of tomorrow’s parliamentary debate into Bryan’s continued detention.

The motion has been signed by Conservative MPs Peter Bottomley and Andrew Mitchell, Chris Bryant and Harriet Harman of the Labour Party as well as Mark Durkan of the Social Democratic and Labour Party.

The journalist was arrested along with 29 Greenpeace activists last month who were protesting against Russian attempts to drill for gas in the Arctic Circle.

Armed Russian security officials boarded the Greenpeace vessel Atlantic Sunrise on 19 September and arrested the crew, forcing the boat to sail to Murmansk.

Bryan and the other detainees have been detained in a Russian prison and face a maximum of 15 years in jail for piracy.

They are currently being held in jail pending a further hearing on 24 November.

MPs will debate the continued detention tomorrow morning at Westminster Hall.

The Guardian today reported that Bryan was able to call his mother Ann for 20 minutes the first time since he has been jailed.

"When he finally called on Saturday it was like all my Christmases had come at once.

"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."

The Early Day Motion states:

That this House notes with concern the detention by the Russian authorities of journalist Kieron Bryan who was under contract to record a film for Greenpeace when he was arrested on 19 September 2013, and is now detained in Murmansk; believes that he is neither a criminal nor a threat to the Russian state and that he should be released immediately; is dismayed that he is facing charges of piracy which carry a sentence of up to 15 years' imprisonment; and is grateful for the support given to him by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ministers of that Department and consular staff.