Phil Ball is one of 28 Greenpeace International activists who were arrested by Russian special forces after a peaceful protest at an Arctic oil rig operated by Gazprom. Kieron Bryan is a freelance videographer who was contracted by Greenpeace International to document the protest.
Three activists and a Russian freelance photographer were refused bail earlier in the week. Further bail applications on behalf of the other activists will be heard next week.
The International Federation of Journalists and the European Federation of Journalists have today called for the immediate release of Kieron Bryan and Phil Ball (a registered journalist and activist) as well as the freelance Russian photographer Denis Sinyakov. (1)
The head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, has also said the Greenpeace International activists cannot be charged with piracy as they did not have an intention to seize the oil rig. He has also said the council will appeal to the general prosecutor to change the decision.
On Thursday Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ordered her top diplomat to probe Russia over the fate of Brazilian Greenpeace activist Ana Paula Maciel. President Dilma said the Foreign Ministry was determined to provide “any assistance” to Ana Paula Maciel.
“I asked Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo to make high-level contact with the Russian government to find a solution for Ana Paula,” Rousseff wrote on Twitter.
Commenting on the latest developments in the case, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said:
“Those 30 brave men and women are in jail on trumped up charges, they are prisoners of conscience. They are there not because of what they did but because of what they represent. They are there not because of Russian law but because they made a stand against vested interests. Greenpeace does not think it is above the law, but those campaigners are not pirates, even President Putin says so, and every day they remain behind bars is an affront to the basic principles of justice.”
Tomorrow (Saturday) Kumi Naidoo travels to Reykjavik, Iceland, to attend the opening of the Arctic Circle conference – a newly established forum where politicians, NGOs, corporations and other stakeholders meet to advance collaborative decision-making on Arctic issues. There he will urge other Arctic states to press for the release of the detainees.