Russian prison ordeal of Greenpeace campaigner from Queen’s Park to be made into a film
- Credit: Archant
A Greenpeace activist from Queen’s Park who was detained for nearly three months in a Russian jail is set to see his story on the big screen.
Actress Emma Thompson and legendary director Lord Puttnam will be collaborating on a film about the ordeal suffered by Frank Hewetson.
Mr Hewetson found himself at the centre of an international outcry in September 2013 after he was arrested for piracy along with 29 fellow protesters.
The group had staged an anti-drilling demonstration at an offshore oil rig.
Speaking exclusively to the Times, the 48-year-old, who lives in Chevening Road, revealed that the veteran Chariots of Fire director Lord Puttnam is set to oversee the adaptation of Greenpeace press officer Ben Stewart’s book about the campaign to free the ‘Arctic 30’, entitled Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg.
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He said: “Those three months were an emotional roller coaster and there were moments of really high action and drama. When we were arrested by Russian commandoes, shots were fired at the ship we were on.”
The book, which was released last month, takes its title from chilling advice given to Mr Hewetson by fellow prisoners during his detention in a Murmansk prison.
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The father-of-two, who had little contact with his wife Nina, a casting director, during his detention, said: “You form a bond with your fellow prisoners; despite the fact I didn’t speak Russian, I learned that one prisoner was in for double manslaughter and my cell mate had run a taser mugging ring.” He was eventually released as part of an amnesty, along with 6,500 people held for hooliganism, including members of the controversial girl band Pussy Riot.
He describes his time at the mercy of the Russian legal system as a “charade” and says his detention and the worldwide campaign were part of Vladimir Putin’s attempts to bolster the influence of the Kremlin on the international stage.
Vowing to continue spearheading Greenpeace’s non-violent action to tackle climate change and environmental threats around the world, he added: “I knew I would end up going to prison one day... but I thought it would be Pentonville.”
Don’t Trust, Don’t Fear, Don’t Beg by Ben Stewart is available in bookshops and online.