Letter of thanks from jailed Nelson man
Nelson man David Haussmann imprisoned in Russia has sent an open letter to everyone in the community, thanking them for their support.
The electrical engineer who is among the Greenpeace crew off the Arctic Sunrise detained last month following protest action off the Russian coast, has written a letter which is posted on the Greenpeace website.
Mr Haussmann was among 28 Greenpeace crew and two journalists arrested a month ago and charged with piracy for protesting against Russia's Prirazlomnoye oil platform in the Barents Sea.
Australian-based Kiwi Jon Beauchamp was the other New Zealander on the ship, which was towed to the port of Severmorsk, near Murmansk, after it was boarded by armed Russian coast guard officials.
Greenpeace distributed the letter via social media channels saying David "Haussy" Haussmann, wanted to thank everyone for their support over the past month.
Mr Haussmann wrote to his "big whanau" out there, words of heartfelt thanks.
"I can't put it any more simply than thanks. Some of you I know, some I've heard of, some I'll never even meet.
"Your kind thoughts, support and humour mean a lot to me right now, it is the simple things in life.
"In the words of an old and trusted work mate and friend, ‘what is this monkey business?'
"I have no idea, just more questions than answers. The only thing I am sure of is the thing that ties us all together, the want of a clean, green and peaceful planet.
"It's impossible to write to you all, it just ain't happening from here, so that's it."
Mr Haussmann made a plea to those who know his partner Sarah Watson and child Theo in Nelson, to support them as much as possible.
"They mean so much to me."
Ms Watson had been expecting her partner home soon so the couple could prepare for the birth of their second child early next year.
Nelson MP Nick Smith has gone into bat for the family in his capacity as an MP but not a Government minister. He met this week with Russian ambassador to New Zealand, Valery Tereschchenko, in the hope of being able to establish better communication channels between Mr Haussmann and his family.
Dr Smith said he had "emphasised strongly" the plight of the family, and Mr Tereschchenko was sympathetic to Ms Watson's position, but the independence of the Russian judicial process had to be respected.
Dr Smith was concerned that the legal process would be drawn out but he would continue to do all he could for Mr Haussmann to be returned as quickly as possible. He came away from the meeting confident that Russian authorities are dealing with Mr Haussmann in a manner consistent with their laws, but it was fair to say that "Russian laws are tougher than our own", he said.
Mr Haussmann's brother, Tony Haussmann, said today it was now just a "really big wait and see" situation.
All those charged have pleaded not guilty. Mr Haussmann was denied bail following a 2 hour hearing earlier this week, but it was not a surprising outcome, Greenpeace New Zealand campaign manager Carmen Gravatt said.
The piracy charges, which carry a maximum 15-year jail term, have been widely condemned as being extreme and disproportionate to the action carried out. Greenpeace has a team of 30 lawyers on the case, and had placed it as its current priority globally.
Tony Haussmann said there were still "a lot of unknowns" about what might happen next.
"At any stage they could be brought back and re-charged, or they may have to face the piracy charges.
"David is physically strong, but the photos show he looks concerned."
Tony Haussmann said they were unsure about the conditions his brother was having to bear, but he was not one to complain.
He said Greenpeace was doing a great job, and Dutch and Brazilian authorities were putting their case strongly on behalf of their crew members. The family was thankful for Dr Smith's input.
- © Fairfax NZ News