Newport Greenpeace activist Anthony Perrett arrives back in UK and 'looking forward to being back in Wales'
3:40pm Friday 27th December 2013 in News
Anthony Perrett told gathered reporters in St Pancras station that he was looking forward to being back in Wales.
He said he was grateful to “some elements of the British Government” and said “global pressure to release us” would have been a factor in the Russian state’s decision.
“I’m certainly very grateful to some elements of the British government for sure.
Stood alongside his partner Zaharah Ally Mr Perrett said: “It’s not an everyday experience. It’s over now, it's good to be back.
“I’m very relieved to be home. It’s good to be back and speaking English, which has been sorely missed.
“I’m looking forward to going for a walk in the woods, getting back to Wales. My journey is not over yet, I have to get over the Severn Bridge before I get home.”
He said conditions had been difficult in Murmansk with deep snow and a cell six metres by four meters in size.
“It’s been an experience, I’ve only seen it from the inside looking out at the moment.”
He said he didn’t feel “any massive gratitude for being released because we were locked up on such an absurd charge” and that it was “certainly a risk” that he could have been in Russia for a long time. “The uncertainty didn’t stop until the wheels hit the ground,” he said.
“You just don’t know. There’s no certainty. There’s no judicial system with due process. We weren’t criminals. We didn’t commit hooliganism or piracy.
“There were farcical moments. You are in a court room where no one is really asking any questions. No one is really providing any evidence. There is no solid investigation process.
“There was no interest in anything that we had to say. They arrested a ship and then they weren’t too sure what to do with it.
Anthony Perrett with partner Zaharah Ally arriving at St Pancras station in London this afternoon:
Anthony Perrett with partner Zaharah Ally at Polkovo airport in St Petersburg this morning as they prepared to board a flight to Paris.
Newport Greenpeace activist Anthony Perrett is set to arrive in London shortly with fellow activists Alexandra Harris and Phil Ball, crew member Iain Rogers and freelance videographer Kieron Bryan.
They flew from St Petersburg to Paris and boarded the Eurostar to travel the last leg of their journey by rail. They are set to arrive at London's St Pancras Station this afernoon to be met by their families, a spokesman for Greenpeace said.
ANTHONY Perrett said the Arctic 30 activists faced “concentration camp conditions” but that he wasn’t mistreated during his stint in a Russian prison.
The Newport-based eco-activist is on his way back from Russia after charges were dropped against him and other activists and journalists involved in the Arctic Sunrise protest against oil drilling in the polar region.
He said he would go to Russia again and that the taking part was worth it despite his incarceration.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today’s programme that it had been a “very long 100 days. I’m quite eager to get back to Wales and sleep in my own bed and get back to work, really.
“We faced World War Two concentration camp conditions at times. Most of the time there was this professionalism that came through from the Russian people. There was a strange dichotomy of the building being sort of-World War Two mental hospital type affair and the prison guards in their uniforms. All very professional - everybody takes their job very seriously.”
However he said the people at the prison were nice and that he wasn’t mistreated: “The atmosphere was that of a concentration camp, it had the ascetic of [one]. We weren’t treated like prisoners of war. It had very much the razor wire, and the barbed wire, and the reinforcing bar which made up the cages. It had the ascetic of a concentration camp, not the conditions of.
Mr Perrett said he faced a routine of 23 hours in a cell and just one hour for a walk – giving him an opportunity to speak to his other ship mates.
He said: “I certainly hope that we got the conversation started in Russia about the drilling in the Arctic and certainly raised the issue with the Russian voters... It’s so dangerous on so many fronts.”
He said that campaign had kept him through his time in prison and said it was “definitely worth it.”
“Unless humanity starts acting as one, people on this planet we are going to irrevocably change the climate and make it unliveable on this planet for everybody,” he said.
“The existence of humanity on the planet – what price can you put on that, really? 15 years in prison compared to the existence of mankind is nothing really isn’t it?
“Would I go back to Russia for Greenpeace?.... I would certainly go again yes.”
NEWPORT Greenpeace activist, Anthony Perrett is on his way home today after boarding a flight out of Russia.
The 32-year-old former Caldicot councillor is one of six Greenpeace activists who have now left Russia after spending 100 days in the country.
Mr Perret was the first of the activists to have hooliganism charges against him over an Arctic oil drilling protest dropped by the Russian authorities on Tuesday. Yesterday, he was issued with an exit visa.
He is boarding a flight to Paris before continuing to the UK on the Eurostar.
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