The following is the transcription of a handwritten letter from Arctic 30 detainee Alexandre Paul. Canadians Alexandre and Paul Ruzycki have now been imprisoned in Murmansk, Russia, for over a month.
My name is Alexandre Paul or Po-Paul for my friends. I’ve been working for Greenpeace for almost 15 years. It’s been quite an adventure and I am looking forward for it to continue. I am stuck now in Murmansk, Russia, like you probably heard, amongst the Arctic 30. For a small protest, bearing witness to oil drilling in the Arctic, we are facing charge of piracy [Since this letter was written, all 30 have also been charged with hooliganism, which carries up to 7 years in prison].
It’s been over a month now that the “special forces” dropped by helicopter took over our ship at gunpoint. Quite a terrifying moment I must admit, surreal, out of an Action movie. Since then life has been quite difficult. We are all separated, in our cold cells, by an order of court. I must say, I feel a little lonely. My cell-mate doesn’t speak English. Every day I wish a visit from my counsel, every week anticipating the one from my lawyer. The organization has been good to us providing extra food and clothes. The weather is turned to winter, the days are getting shorter. As a Canadian, you shouldn’t worry for me, but have a thought for my colleagues from Brazil, southern Italia, Argentina and Turkey. It must be cold for them.
My letter is to make an appeal to you. We need you. We need people to write to their governments, to the Russian embassies. Tell them this imprisonment is unfair and illegal. Tell them we are not pirates. Ask your leaders to support Holland’s legal action on Russia, demanding the release of our ship and crew. Inform yourself at your local Greenpeace offices and groups about upcoming protests/marches. Sign petitions and get your friends and family to sign them too. Greenpeace is only but a word, the people behind it, that is our strength. Always remember to do so in a peaceful way. We have nothing against Russia, as a matter of fact; we did this for them and their children.
And me, I’ll do my part. I’ll stay strong, I won’t despair. I will keep the faith. For a better world.
Alexandre and Paul need your help! Send a letter to the Russian Embassy and demand the immediate release of the Arctic 30.