Arctic 30 journalist Kieron Bryan arrives home in London following four-month Russian ordeal - Press Gazette

Arctic 30 journalist Kieron Bryan arrives home in London following four-month Russian ordeal

Journalist Kieron Bryan arrived home in London today 102 days after he was arrested covering a Greenpeace protest off the coast of Russia. 

The 29-year old videographer was arrested alongside a freelance photographer and 28 Greenpeace activists in September aboard the Arctic Sunrise. 

The group spent more than two months in custody in a Russian prison before they were eventually bailed. 

Bryan was reunited with his parents Andy and Ann as well as brother Russell at St Pancras International station in London after earlier flying into Paris. 

Speaking this afternoon, Bryan said: "The day before amnesty I was still being told that we might be facing two years in prison so it's a heck of a change in nine days, a hundred days since we were detained by the Russian authorities illegally, so yeah, I'm glad I'm here for New Year.

"The way I was treated is a really difficult one because the Russian people and the people I met, particularly when I was in Murmansk and St Petersburg detention, were amazing.

"They did everything they could to make what was an incredibly difficult situation easier.

"The Russian system that put me there I have different feelings about and I have just been saying to people 'We need to keep talking about it'."

Bryan’s brother Russell added: "It's been a long few months for all the family. We're just so glad it's coming to an end," he said.

"It was very difficult when he was in prison. We couldn't really speak to him.

"We had one phone call and series of letters but the letters were way behind where we were.

"Even last week we were still thinking he could potentially face seven years in jail and face these ridiculous charges.

"It's a massive relief."

Before his arrest the videographer, who lives in Peckham, south London had been planning to travel to Afghanistan to work. 

However, Russell believes that job may now be put on hold. 

Said Russell: "I'm sure Mum won't let him out of his room now," he added.

"I'm not going to stand here and pick his jobs.

"His job as a journalist inherently involves risks."

The Arctic 30 – 28 activists and two freelance journalists – were arrested after Russian authorities boarded their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, during an anti-drilling demonstration in September.

The group were detained for protesting against an Arctic offshore oil rig owned by the Russian company Gazprom.

They were initially charged with piracy, but the charge was later changed to hooliganism.

According to Bryan: "Professionally I was doing my job. I was there to report on an event that was important and deserved coverage," he said.

"I have no regrets on taking the decision to go to the Arctic with Greenpeace to report on a peaceful protest.

"What will change is the way I approach my career and family life.

"I've put my family through the most difficult four months of our lives. I am partly responsible for that. I will need to make sure I take their feelings into consideration a lot more."

He added: "I think it was a political game we got caught up in.

"I'm obviously delighted to be released. I just hope the discussion about the way people are treated, the way a peaceful protest was treated and, as a reporter, how I was treated reporting on that event, we need to keep talking about it."



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