Last Christmas Wham!
22 November 2013, 15:22
A Russian court has granted bail to a Dad-of-three from Chipping Norton involved in the Greenpeace protests.
42-year-old Phil Ball was arrested along with 30 others two months ago, when a Greenpeace ship was impounded by Russian officials. The campaigners had been protesting against Russian plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.
He initially faced charges of piracy. This was downgraded to hooliganism, which still carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
He is the last of six Brits to be granted bail, although he is currently still being held in a detention centre.
His brother, Steve, told Heart it's been a tense time for the family:
"He was countering charges of identity parade witnessing, as though he'd been personally accused of something. So I was thinking 'Oh God, they've got something else, he's going to be held and denied bail'. But, thankfully, he's being let out."
Despite being 'over the moon' about the news, he said it's too early to fully celebrate:
"The Aussie radio operator who was the first into court has been denied bail... So I think all of us will be tempering our enjoyment this evening with thinking of him and his folks."
"And it's still a pre-trial detention that is now a bail, not in prison, but when the detention is up they will be sentenced and they still face seven years - that hasn't gone away."