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December 18, 2013

Kieron Bryan could be home for Christmas after Russian parliament backs amnesty

By Darren Boyle

Arctic 30 journalist Kieron Bryan could be home for Christmas after the Russian parliament today voted to grant him amnesty along with his former shipmates.

The 28 activists and two freelance journalists were arrested aboard the Arctic Sunrise as it protested against a drilling operation inside the Arctic Circle.

Bryan was filming when Russian special-forces fast-roped onto the vessel and arrested everybody on board. The group was held for two months on remand before being released on bail last month. 

Today, the Russian Duma voted to offer amnesty to the 28 activists and two freelance journalists.

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It is understood that a final vote will take place later today and then the 26 non-Russians, including Bryan will be able to return home once they are issued with exit visas.

Captain of the Arctic Sunrise Peter Willcox said: “I might soon be going home to my family, but I should never have been charged and jailed in the first place. We sailed north to bear witness to a profound environmental threat but our ship was stormed by masked men wielding knives and guns. Now it’s nearly over and we may soon be truly free, but there’s no amnesty for the Arctic. We may soon be home, but the Arctic remains a fragile global treasure under assault by oil companies and the rising temperatures they’re driving. We went there to protest against this madness. We were never the criminals here.”

Bryan was freed on 28 November after Greenpeace paid £38,000 bail. He had originally been charged with piracy although this charge was downgraded to hooliganism.

Now, Russian authorities seem willing to abandon any further legal action.

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