12 October 2013
Source: HRO.org (info)
* * *Many people are asking how our meeting went. We talked through the glass via a telephone receiver. You have to sit on a little stool in a tiny booth and talk as if by telephone. Three more similar couples were nearby. Andrei was already sitting there when I arrived. Our meeting lasted half an hour. Time went by too quickly and we didn’t manage to discuss everything that we wanted to talk about.
I was walking along a narrow corridor where guards were standing with huge German shepherds on short leashes. The dogs didn’t bark but it was frightening nonetheless, although the guards looked even scarier. In addition, along the entire length of the corridor and throughout most of the place there are many bars. It is very similar to a bad movie.
Everyone understands that the decision as to whether to release the guys is not being made in the court. Therefore it’s important not to weaken the pressure and to make sure that this case receives as much publicity as possible to build up public concern. This is how we can help. Andrei also considers this to be the best way to help.
He thanks everyone a lot for their support and sends his greetings.
He looks good. He’s calm and in good spirits. He did not complain about the conditions in the detention center. He says that it’s possible to live there. He has two fellow inmates who are there on criminal charges. Andrei says that these fellows are good to him and he was lucky to have them as cell mates. He has no contact with the outside world. He also has no communication with the other members of the crew. The only books that he has are the ones available in the prison library. In this sense the isolation ward completely lives up to its name. They have a television and they can watch the first and second channels as well as NTV. But even the way they present news about the Arctic Sunrise cannot break his fighting spirit since he takes a philosophical approach to the pack of lies shown on the state television channels.
Of course, he has many impressions about the seizure of the ship itself. Andrei was on deck when the helicopter descended. It was soldiers who took them, about 15 of them in total. They were armed and made everyone lie face down on deck. I asked him if it was scary and he said “No, it was cold”. They didn’t use too much force. They turned the entire ship upside down and searched it for 12 hours. In short, he’ll have something to talk about when he gets back.
At the moment he’s bothered by the total isolation and uncertainty of the situation. But he is not at all despondent and his spirit has not been broken. He is more worried for the captain, who is responsible for his crew.
* * *
Andrei Allakhverdov is 50 years old. He is a well-known radio journalist and head of the press service of Greenpeace Russia. At the moment, he and the rest of the crew from the Arctic Sunrise are in jail on the absurd charge of piracy. Andrei’s apprentices, journalism colleagues, and many well-known and distinguished people have voiced their support for him. Now he really needs support from each of us. His wife and 16-year old son Misha are waiting for him to come home.
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