Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall wrote devoted an article to the greek-situation.
My friends are in prison
I really wish my first personal tumblr post wasn’t something like this, but this is an urgent appeal for help.
Two of my close friends and work colleagues, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, are currently detained in a prison in Greece, charged with allegations of spying.
Just even writing that down is so absolutely ridiculous to me, I can barely stand seeing those words on paper. I know a bit about military intelligence, I spent five years in the Air Force as an Officer, and re-enlisted in the New Zealand Army as an Officer a few years ago, in the Signals regiment. So I know what information might be valuable. The charges are nothing short of absurd. This is a disgrace to the video gaming industry, and both of them should be freed immediately.
They are Game Developers
Me (left) and Ivan (right) sharing a moment at E3 this year
My two friends are game developers. I came all the way to the Czech Republic from New Zealand just to make games with them. Indeed, Ivan was the first person I ever spoke to in the company, both of us sharing a passion for the mountains. After more than two years of passionate work on Limnos, the fictional counterpart and also a game tribute the to the real place, they were really interested to see the real island of Lemnos. They were there as tourists, and are being charged simply because they were working on a video game. A game that portrays Greece as a battlefield for a fictional futuristic conflict. There is no risk in this game, there is no evidence here that any espionage has been conducted or even that anyone’s safety is compromised. This is at best, ignorance about video games, at worst is is an abuse of power.
They helped me make DayZ
Both guys worked together for me over the past month to help make ChernarusPlus, a new map for the DayZ game I am working on. They put in many hours of work with this, a great deal of which was in their own time. When I arrived in the Czech Republic, I knew nobody. Ivan was there at their airport with a big smile and a warm handshake, driving me to the studio in Brno to begin my adventure with the studio. Martin was always on hand to help me out, translating when I needed a Pizza order late at night working on DayZ. When I went to E3, after the pressure and difficulties of my success, one of my bags stolen and the other lost, I arrived in Prague something of a beaten man sitting at a bus stop feeling sorry for myself, very alone a long way from home. Ivan’s flight arrived later, but he called me, picked up, cheered me up, and drove me home. That’s the kind of guy Ivan is.
We need to get them home
There is much more I would love to say about the situation and the various government agencies involved. It’s up to the Greek Government now to get involved and end this immediately.
How you can help them
You have the power to help me free my friends. I need you to do four things, and if enough people get behind this. The world has their eye on Greece because of their economic troubles, let them know the world has two of their friends held hostage. These things are very important. Petitions and such are great but not as powerful as personal contact, these steps will get my friends freed:
1. Send a twitter message to the Prime Minister of Greece (@primeministergr) letting him know we want Ivan and Maxel returned to their families immediately. This is probably one of the most public and obvious things you can do to help. Social Media works.
2. Call, write, or visit your nearest Greek Embassy (click the link for a list). Let them know what they have done is wrong, and that you want them released. Be civil, but be honest. We don’t stand for this in the part of the world I come from.
3. Spread the word, let everyone know. Please forward my post on, and these links, to anyone who might be able to help. For more information you can visit my friends website at http://www.helpivanmartin.org/
4. Let the local press on the island know what you think on their facebook page, and their twitter @LesvosNet. Read some of the comments on this articlefor an idea of what is going on. Let’s end it exactly where it all started in the first place!
Please note: my views here are my own, and not representative of any organization, company, or project that I have or now work for.