Journalist covering Greenpeace ship detained in Russia

On September 18, 2013, British freelance journalist and former videographer for The Times of London Kieron Bryan, 29, was detained along with Russian freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov and 28 Greenpeace activists and ship crew members off the north coast of Russia. Bryan was covering a Greenpeace demonstration in protest of oil mining in the Arctic, according to local and international press reports.

Bryan, along with Sinyakov and the activists, was on board the Greenpeace international ship in the Pechora Sea. When the ship approached the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform–the first one to start oil production in the Arctic–Russian border guards wearing balaclavas descended upon the ship and arrested everyone at gunpoint.

On September 27, 2013, a court in the city of Murmansk ordered that Bryan be detained for two months, pending an investigation into accusations of piracy. Bryan was covering the protest on a short-term contract with Greenpeace, news reports said. As in Sinyakov’s case, he was detained despite the fact that he was not a part of the demonstration.

In the court hearing in Murmansk, prosecutors failed to present any evidence of violence or harm caused by Bryan or other defendants, which would have explained the application of the piracy charge against them, according to a video of the court hearing, which was posted online. No proof of any attempts to seize property was shown in court either.

Greenpeace has denied the charges and said there was no intent of piracy or terrorism in the actions of its activists, news reports said.