Greenpeace ship Britons denied bail

A court in Murmansk ruled that Philip Ball, of Oxfordshire, and Kieron Bryan, from London, should remain in pre-trial detention until 24 November.

Greenpeace ship Britons denied bail by Russian court

Two Britons arrested after a Greenpeace protest at an offshore oil drilling rig have been denied bail in Russia.

A court in Murmansk ruled that Philip Ball, of Oxfordshire, and Kieron Bryan, from London, should remain in pre-trial detention until 24 November.

The pair were among six Britons on board the organisation’s boat Arctic Sunrise held on 18 September.

All 30 people on the vessel have been accused of piracy, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

So far all six of the bail applications made in the case have been refused.

Freelance video journalist Mr Bryan, 29, appeared in court behind a glass screen, wearing a green checked shirt.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted him as saying he did not have journalistic accreditation and intended to sell his footage after returning from the Arctic.

“I had just verbal contracts. Verbal agreements with many leading TV companies that I would provide them with footage afterwards,” Bryan told the court.

The BBC’s Moscow Correspondent Daniel Sandford reports that lawyers for the two men argued that the Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil platform is more like an island than a ship, so piracy charges should not apply.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has said the charges against some of those detained might change because drugs – thought to be poppy straw and morphine – were found on the boat.

Poppy straw, or raw opium, can be used to produce morphine or heroin.

The committee also said investigators were trying to establish which detainees were responsible for “deliberately ramming” Russian coastguard boats in the Arctic.

Greenpeace said any suggestion illegal drugs were found was a “smear” and “fabrication” as its ships only carry medical supplies required under maritime law.

The UK government, meanwhile, has raised the case of the six detained Britons with the Russian authorities.

Those being held with activist Mr Ball and Mr Bryan are logistics co-ordinator Frank Hewetson from London, activist Anthony Perrett from Newport in Wales, communications officer Alexandra Harris, originally from Devon and 2nd engineer Iain Rogers, from Exeter.

Source: BBC.

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