Greenpeace Arctic: Activist Alex Harris family's bail joy

Cliff and Linda Harris Cliff and Linda Harris watch their daughter's appearance in court

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British activist Alex Harris is among a number of Greenpeace members bailed by a Russian court after being detained with 29 others after a demonstration over oil exploration of the Arctic.

Miss Harris, 27, appeared at a court in the northern city of St Petersburg.

The internet, the television and the phones were all primed and ready.

For Cliff and Linda Harris, of Winkleigh in Devon, this was the day they were to find out if their daughter was to be freed from a Russian jail.

Their daughter Alex is one of 30 Greenpeace workers and activists held by the Russians since a demonstration at an oil platform in the Arctic two months ago.

Alex Harris Relief shows on the face of Alex Harris after hearing she had been granted bail

"It's been quite an education," said agricultural scientist Mr Harris, surrounded by his own cables and those of network television.

'A good person'

He and wife Linda, a nursery worker, admit their lives have been turned upside down since the arrest.

Alex, who lives in Australia, acted as a communications officer on the Greenpeace ship.

Mr Harris said: "We met her in Oslo, before she went and she was excited about the trip.

"We didn't envisage anything like this happening at all."

His daughter was first held in Murmansk before being transferred to St Petersburg, with her immediate future resting on a bail application on Wednesday.

Cliff Harris, Alex's father: "We are delighted, it is fantastic news"

"I beg you to grant me bail," she told the Russian judge. "I am a good person."

And then the news came, via Twitter, that she had successfully argued her case for bail.

Her sentence, consisting of just 147 characters, meant so much for the family.

"It's happened, official," said Mr Harris.

"You wouldn't believe how we feel about this. The phone'll be busy now."

One of the first calls was from Miss Harris's sister, Georgie, 23, who has been supporting the activists at demonstrations around the UK.

'Huge relief'

"We are delighted," said Mr Harris.

"It's fantastic news.

"To see her face when it was announced was a real treat for us all."

It had been a long morning, scanning the internet for news from 05:30 GMT.

But the couple also realise it is not the end of the battle to get their daughter home.

Uncertainty about bail conditions remain, and there is also the possibility of a trial to face.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace in the UK, said: "Although this process is a long way from being resolved, today's decision by the court to grant bail to Alex will come as a huge relief to her family and friends.

"Our focus now will be to get the remaining activists released."

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