UK
13/10/2013 05:29 BST | Updated 07/11/2013 07:09 GMT

Journalist Kieron Bryan 'Preparing Himself' For Long Prison Sentence In Russia After Greenpeace Protest

A British journalist, held in prison in Russia after being arrested during a Greenpeace protest, has said he is preparing himself for a long sentence.

Kieron Bryan was one of the members of a Greenpeace crew seized during a protest in the Arctic. In a letter to his family, Bryan, 29, assures them he is OK, apart from the "horrible uncertainty and anxiety".

The videographer, originally from Devon, was on board the Arctic Sunrise during a protest against drilling in the Arctic when all 30 people on board were arrested by the Russian authorities.

kieron bryan

Greenpeace Kieron Bryan, a British freelance videographer, stands in a defendants' cage in a regional court in Murmansk, Russia

He was denied bail last week.

He wrote: "The food is basic or grim but I'll not starve. The guards can't communicate but are polite and harmless, likewise my cell mate can barely string two words of English together but he is fine with me.

"We draw pictures and speak pigeon (sic) versions of the other's language - it's funny in a farcical way.

"Lack of communication has been really tough - I just hope my lawyer can get messages to you. I will ask him to send you the prison address - packages are allowed (with restrictions, keep the nail file out!).

"Things to keep me occupied are always welcome - I'm running out of books since we've swapped between the group already. Hopefully Greenpeace and the Embassy can help there too.

"I'm not allowed to see the others I came with, we are being kept separately and the only chance to talk comes during the exercise period - it involves shouting over two metre high walls and hoping someone can speak English nearby."

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Bryan said those arrested were "pieces in a game we didn't want to participate in".

He went on: "I'm trying to prepare myself for a lengthy sentence. Everyone says it's very unlikely but all of this feels unlikely.

"I'll get through this, we all will."

John Sauven executive director of Greenpeace UK said the decision to deny Bryan bail “flies in the face of all reason.

"We have offered the Russian courts significant sureties that would guarantee the return of all those accused if and when a trial took place.

"The decision of the court to refuse bail looks increasingly like the Russian authorities are meting out unnecessarily harsh punishment even before any trial.

"In the case of Kieron Brian, he is a professional journalist, travelling on the Greenpeace ship, witnessing a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. He has committed no crime and should be released immediately.”