MPs and stars pledge support for detained West activists
The family of a Devon man held in Russia on piracy charges say MPs have pledged their support to lobby for his safe release.
Kieron Bryan, a freelance film-maker aged 29, is one of 30 people detained in the northern city of Murmansk after Greenpeace's vessel Arctic Sunrise was boarded by the Russian coast guard.
Maritime engineer Iain Rogers, 37 and from Exeter, is also being held, along with Alexandra Harris, 27, who now lives in Australia but has a mother still living in Dolton, in North Devon.
In a letter, seen by The Times newspaper and sent from Murmansk just over a week ago. Mr Bryan has described his plight.
Job Vacancy: Plumbing & Heating Engineer RequiredView details
Trident Plumbing and Heating Services Ltd have a vacancy for a full time Plumbing and Heating Engineer.
Terms: Ring 01326 218934, email CV to email@example.com, or post CV to Unit 1, Ponsharden Ind Est, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 2SG
Contact: 01326 330626
Valid until: Friday, December 20 2013
He wrote: "The shock of the situation is wearing off – I'm a mixture of bored, worried, strangely calm and asleep. I have run out of books but a care package of food arrived today – chocolate helps!"
However, Foreign Office staff have described Mr Bryan as "emotionally drained and confused" when they visited him.
They said that he had no hot water, had lost his glasses and had limited clothing.
In a separate note to his girlfriend, Mr Bryan wrote: "I have been shaking for most of the last 48 hours. I oscillate between fear, disbelief and panic."
Actor Jude Law, Blur frontman Damon Albarn and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood have all joined the campaign to free the activists, who had been protesting at the offshore platform owned by Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom in the Pechora Sea last month.
Mr Bryan's parents, Ann and Andy, from Shebbear in north Devon, and older brother Russell, met with deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman yesterday to push forward with plans to secure the videographer's return to England.
Russell Bryan, 32, who lives near his sibling in London, said: "I wrote to Harriet the first day I knew my brother had been detained. Her office have been absolutely brilliant so far, arranging the meeting with her today.
"He's spending 23 hours a day in his cell, it's just him and one other man in there – a Russian – so my brother is learning the language to be able to communicate with him. Mum and dad are finding it really hard. To not have any contact with him since he arrived in Murmansk has been really tough on him. It's been really difficult to know how he is feeling since the charges were laid against him – it's been terribly hard."
Ms Harman's office has confirmed the MP would be looking to meet with Foreign Secretary William Hague as well as minister of state for Europe David Lidington later this week.
Mr Bryan has been told he may be detained for two months but is due in court within the next week to determine whether his bail will be granted.
Greenpeace denies any wrongdoing and describes the charges as "absurd and outrageous".
International executive Director Kumi Naidoo said they are now "prisoners of conscience".