Sheffield graduate Kieron hopes for freedom

Arctic 30 member Kieron Bryan
Arctic 30 member Kieron Bryan
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Sheffield graduate Kieron Bryan is looking forward to his best Christmas ever – after hearing he may be free to come home from Russia.

The 29-year-old, who studied English and journalism at Sheffield University, was arrested with 29 other people aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise in September.

He was freed from custody last month, but was not allowed to leave the country and faced charges of hooliganism.

Mr Bryan was working aboard the ship – which was protesting against drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean – as a freelance video journalist.

But now the Russian parliament has voted in favour of an amnesty for the so-called Arctic 30.

Mr Bryan tweeted: “Unanimous vote. We got amnesty. It doesn’t seem real. Merry Christmas everyone, this will be my best ever wherever I am!”

He is one of six Britons now hoping to be allowed to fly home.

After the vote, Greenpeace said that legal proceedings were now almost certain to come to an end.

The charity said it was not yet clear when the group would be allowed home, or what will happen to its vessel the Arctic Sunrise, which has remained impounded in Murmansk since the arrests.

But it expects the 26 foreign nationals will be allowed to leave once exit visas have been issued.

Mr Bryan’s mother Ann, from Devon, said: “It is just brilliant. We are over the moon.

“We are still in a state where we can’t quite believe it.

“But we are thrilled. It’s long overdue and we are going to have such a good Christmas.”

Mr Bryan was filming when Russian special forces boarded the Greenpeace vessel and arrested everybody on board.

The group was held for two months on remand before being released on bail after Greenpeace paid £38,000 on behalf of Mr Bryan.

The amnesty was passed to mark the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Russian constitution.

It is expected to cover at least 20,000 prisoners.

Also hoping for freedom are two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot.