He aint no pirate – he’s my godfather


We apologise for the interruption to normal services… This isn’t about kids, really, or anything I’d usually blog about here. It’s about my friend Kieron.

Kieron is a journalist. A really fine, principled, journalist. When I went back to work for a big newspaper after Johnny was born, I fell into the habit of trying to cover every news story I could with him. Not just because he was so good at his job that he made me look good too, but because  - in a very male, often competitive environment – he was kind and thoughtful too. He’s the sort of man who always stops to think about everyone involved in a story – from the people in power at the top to the people reaping the consequences at the very bottom. For him, decisions weren’t made just according to what we could get away with, legally, but also according to what was right, ethically.

He went freelance at the same at me, the same I started this blog. About a month ago, he accepted an assignment covering a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic. We saw him for supper a couple of nights before he left and he was excited. We knew not to expect any news of him for a good few weeks. What we didn’t expect was that the next we’d hear of him would be on the BBC News, in a report stating that the ship he’d been on had been seized by the Russians, towed at gunpoint to the northern city of Murmansk and that 30 people on board had been charged with piracy. Kieron was among them, even though he’s not even an activist, just a journalist covering a story.

Last week he was denied bail. He doesn’t look well in the photo that accompanied the news stories. He’s currently spending 23 hours a day in a cell with no hot water and one Russian inmate for company. They can’t speak each other’s language, he has lost his glasses, and Foreign Office staff who managed to gain access to him described him as “emotionally drained and confused.”

Kieron is not a pirate. To most British people, he’s a journalist. To readers of this blog who’ve been around for a while, he’s the guy who made this film of Johnny:

from on .

To me and Tom, he’s a brilliant friend. And to our baby  - the one arriving in a few weeks now – he’s her godfather. We didn’t expect to have to ask him via an email that will delivered to his cell by a Russian lawyer, but we’re very proud all the same. And we want him home to meet her when she’s born. So PLEASE, sign this petition to get Kieron, and the Greenpeace team he was documenting, released.