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Family rally round Chippy cameraman held in Russia
THE cousin of a man from Chipping Norton who faces a potential 15-year prison sentence after being charged with piracy in Russia said they are doing all they can to get him released.
Cameraman Phil Ball, aged 42, was part of a 30-strong crew on a ship belonging to the charity Greenpeace, protesting against oil drilling in the Artic.
The father-of-three was one of six Britons who were aboard the Artic Sunrise when it was boarded by Russian security officers while in the Barents Sea.
The crew were arrested last month after two of the activists tried to board an oil platform owned by the Russian energy company Gazprom.
A series of appeals and bail hearings for all 30 people started on Tuesday, with the cases for non-Russians due to be held imminently.
Mr Ball’s cousin, Sophie Field, 34, said the family were all very worried about him.
“It’s a very stressful time for the family, we’re very close,” she said. “We are all rallying round trying to keep spirits up and trying to do what we can to get him home.
“He’s a fantastic guy and a very talented cameraman. He’s done lots of work for all the channels, he’s just lovely. We are just trying to keep his spirits up by writing to him.”
Mrs Field, who used to live two doors down from Mr Ball when they were growing up, said they were trying to raise awareness of his plight in an effort to get him released.
“We’re getting people to sign the Greenpeace petition letter being sent out to the Russian Embassy at the moment,” she said. “I think there have been a million letters sent.
“Phil is passionate about preserving the planet for his kids. That’s his motivation. #
"He can see if Russian drill in the Artic there’s a lot of problems. He’s been volunteering at Greenpeace since 2007.”
For more information or to send a letter visit greenpeace.org.
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