UK

Greenpeace Briton Frank Hewetson denied bail in Russia

Frank Hewetson
Image caption Frank Hewetson's bail application was denied and he has been returned to jail

A British Greenpeace activist held in Russia on piracy charges has been denied bail.

Frank Hewetson, 45, a logistics co-ordinator on Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, is among 30 people being held in the city of Murmansk.

The Arctic Sunrise was seized nearly four weeks ago by Russian security forces after some activists tried to scale an offshore oil platform.

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

Piracy in Russia carries a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Mr Hewetson had been due to appear alongside Swiss activist Marco Weber, but Mr Weber's hearing was postponed due to the lack of a German translator, according to Greenpeace's twitter feed.

According to the campaign group, Mr Hewetson is a father-of-two from London and has worked for Greenpeace in the UK and Australia since 1989.

His partner Nina Gold said: "The only thing he is guilty of is participating in an entirely peaceful protest to raise awareness of a cause that he passionately believes in - protecting the planet and the fragile wilderness of the Arctic.

Image caption Six Britons are being detained in the port of Murmansk in north-west Russia

"He has two teenage children back home who miss him terribly, and not knowing when we'll be able to see him again is agony."

Among those who have joined the campaign to free Mr Hewetson is actor Jude Law - a friend - who recently said that the idea that there was a possibility of a "15-year prison stretch" was "beyond reason".

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "Frank, like the other 29 being held, presents no threat to Russia and should be allowed to return home to be with their families."

He said the organisation had offered sureties to guarantee the return of all of those charged for any future court case.

Mr Hewetson is among six Britons under detention. They are journalist Kieron Bryan, 29, from London, Philip Ball, from Oxfordshire, activist Anthony Perrett from Newport in south Wales, communications officer Alexandra Harris, originally from Devon, and 2nd engineer Iain Rogers, from Exeter.

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