Former Sheffield student fears lengthy jail term

Greenpeace-contracted freelance videographer Kieron Bryan at his bail hearing in Murmansk.
Greenpeace-contracted freelance videographer Kieron Bryan at his bail hearing in Murmansk.
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A former Sheffield student accused of piracy after a Greenpeace protest has told his family he fears a long prison sentence.

Video journalist Kieron Bryan, agede 29, who studied English and journalism at Sheffield University, was on board the Arctic Sunrise at an offshore oil drilling rig when 30 people were arrested by Russian authorities last month.

In a letter to his family, he assured them he was well, apart from the ‘horrible uncertainty and anxiety’.

Mr Bryan, who graduated in 2008, was one of six Britons arrested.

He was denied bail at a court hearing in the Russian city of Murmansk last week, which ruled he should remain in pre-trial detention until Sunday, November 24.

Mr Bryan said: “The food is basic or grim, but I’ll not starve. The guards can’t communicate, but are polite and harmless.

“Lack of communication has been tough – I just hope my lawyer can get messages to you.

“Things to keep me occupied are always welcome - I’m running out of books since we’ve swapped between the group already.”

Mr Bryan said those arrested were ‘pieces in a game we didn’t want to participate in’.

He said: “I’m trying to prepare myself for a lengthy sentence. Everyone says it’s unlikely, but all of this feels unlikely. I’ll get through this, we all will.”

Greenpeace has called for the release of Mr Bryan on the basis he was a journalist working alongside activists.

All those arrested have been accused of piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.