Out of the frying pan and into the fire for activist

Photo: Andy Pag with his trusty Biotruck The Biotruck Expedition

A Croydon environmental activist faces up to three years in jail in northern India, for using a satellite phone.

Andy Pag from Thornton Heath was forced to abort plans to travel the world in a vehicle run from vegetable oil, after spending all his money on legal fees.

The campaigner was arrested on January 13 in Rajasthan for violating local communication laws. He was given a bail of 40,000 rupees (£540) but is still awaiting trial after almost two  months.

He was initially charged with terrorism offences, carrying a jail sentence of up to 10 years, but reported on his Twitter account that these had been dropped.

His plight contrasts with that of a Polish man arrested for a similar offence; Bronobis Robert was fined 1,000 rupees and released after only a day’s trial. Police said he was dealt with rapidly because he did not have any “ill intentions.”

Mr Pag, who has dual Italian and British nationality, has driven through France, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Greece. He used more than 500 litres of fuel made from used cooking oil found thrown out by restaurants along the journey.

On his blog, Mr Pag describes The Biotruck Expedition as “a 12 month expedition to drive around the world to discover how people are using and generating energy, and their attitudes towards carbon emissions… I want to see if I can travel on a sustainable carbon budget.”

He is appealing for people to write to the Indian Minister of Home Affairs, the Indian High Commissioner in London and the Indian High Commissioner in Rome to put pressure on the investigating officer, Superintendent Tak of Ajmer police, Rajasthan, to speed up the trial.

To help, email Mr P Chidambaram, the Indian Minister of Home Affairs on hm@nic.in, Mr Nalin Surie, the Indian High Commissioner in London on administration@hcilondon.in and Mr Arif Shahid Khan, the Indian Ambassador in Rome on gen.email@indianembassy.it.


  1. Linda March 23, 2010
  2. Tisha April 25, 2011

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