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November 19, 2013

Jailed Kieron Bryan’s shipmates bailed pending £38,000 court lodgement

By Darren Boyle

Jailed journalist Kieron Bryan is expected to be granted bail later this week after a Russian court said protestors from Argentina, Bazil, Canada, Italy New Zealand and Poland were eligible for release.

The Primorsky court in St Petersburg announced that the first nine activists could be bailed if £38,000 each was lodged within four days.

Otherwise they would  spend a further three months behind bars.

Bryan, 29, was due to appear in court today but the case was adjourned until tomorrow at the earliest. He is expected to appear at the Primorsky court at 8am GMT.

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Greenpeace has announced that it will be making the money available to free its activists as soon as possible. The £38,000 fee is the equivalent of 2 million roubles.

Bryan was filming a protest aboard the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise when it was raided by Russian special forces. The armed soldiers arrested the 30 crew in September.

One Australian activist, who appeared in court yesterday was not granted bail and was detained for a further three months.

Bryan appeared directly after that first case although his legal team argued there was a problem with the translator and the hearing was adjourned.

Since then, nine of the crew have been granted bail.

Bryan and the eighteen other detainees are expected to appear in court over the coming days.

The freelance videographer, who previously worked for The Times was contracted by Greenpeace to cover their planned protest against the drilling of oil within the arctic circle.

Initially the group was charged with piracy although these charges were reduced to hooliganism, which still attracts a seven year jail term.

The group was moved last week from the northern port city of Murmansk to St Petersburg.

The Russian government has been subjected to intensive lobbying by British Prime Minister David Cameron who raised the matter with Vladimir Putin.

A UN tribunal decision on the legality of the Russian action is expected next month.

Mads Christensen of Greenpeace said: “We cannot be at all confident that the Arctic 30 are going home any time soon. None of them have passports, so as things stand at the very least they could be restricted to Russian territory. And they are still charged with at least one very serious offence which could see them jailed for many years. Nobody at Greenpeace is celebrating yet.”

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