Grigory Pasko case*

   Appeals of the Assembly of Delegates of International PEN to European Court of Human Rights
   Resolution on Grigory Pasko, Russia, submitted by the American, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Russian and Swedish Centres
   Address of Grigory Pasko in the labor camp (Russian)
   European Parliament resolution on the jailing of the Russian military journalist Grigorii Pasko and the closure of TV-6
   Appeal to the President George W. Bush from PEN American Center relating to the Grigory Pasko case (25.01.2002)

    Amnesty International public documents:

      Environmental activist Grigory Pasko faces new imprisonment risk

      Background briefing on the Grigory Pasko case

      Continued pressure on Grigory Pasko
   Russian language documents

Amnesty International 20 November 2000
AI Index: EUR 46/46/00

Environmental activist Grigory Pasko faces new imprisonment risk

A day before the Military Collegium of Russia's Supreme Court prepares to consider the conviction and sentence of journalist Grigory Pasko who was jailed for peacefully
exercising his freedom of expression Amnesty International urges that his conviction should be quashed.

Grigory Pasko was arrested by Federal Security Service (FSB) officers in November 1997 for treason and espionage, after he exposed the Russian navy's illegal dumping of nuclear waste off the coast of Vladivostok. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment by the military court in Vladivostok in July 1999, but released from detention under an amnesty.

"Grigory Pasko has already been subjected to 20 months of pre-trial detention, including 10 months of solitary confinement. The continuing actions of military prosecutors against Grigory Pasko amount to judicial persecution," Amnesty International said today.

"By harassing those who expose environmental crimes, the Federal Security Service is demonstrating a perverse and, in the wake of the Chernobyl experience, potentially disastrous misconception of where Russia's national security interests lie," said Amnesty International today. "The authorities' security policy should not run counter to Russia's human rights obligations."

In a media interview given in July 1999. when Vladimir Putin was head of the FSB and the Security Council, he characterized the Russian environmental movement as a Trojan horse for espionage by foreign powers, and called Grigory Pasko a spy. This year President Putin abolished the independent governmental environmental inspection committee.

"The Russian security services' action against international networking by environmental activists threatens to deter Russians from engaging in global civil society," said Amnesty International.

The treatment of Grigory Pasko is part of an emergent pattern of persecution of environmental activists by the Russian authorities. In September 2000 the Supreme Court dismissed an attempt by the Prosecutor General backed by the FSB, 10 overturn the acquittal of retired naval officer and former prisoner of conscience Aleksandr Nikitin, whom they similarly charged with treason and espionage for having written about the environmental dangers posed by the decaying nuclear submarines of Russia's Northern Fleet.

Amnesty International 20 November 2000
AI Index: EUR 46/46/00

Background briefing on the Grigory Pasko case

Grigory Pasko, a reporter for Boyevaya Vakhta (Battle Watch), the newspaper of the Russian Pacific Fleet, was pronounced guilty of abusing his official position to harm the rights and lawful interests of citizens, organizations or the state (Article 285 of the Criminal Code) on 20 July 1999 at the end of a six-month closed military trial in Vladivostok. Amnesty International expressed serious concerns about the fairness of the trial, and about the impartiality and independence of the court. Grigory Pasko was sentenced to three years imprisonment, yet was immediately released from detention under the terms of a nationwide amnesty. Charges of treason and espionage, for which the prosecution demanded a prison sentence of 12 years with hard labour, were dismissed by the court.

Grigory Pasko appealed against the conviction and sentence, arguing that the prosecution failed to demonstrate that he had committed any crime. Moreover, as the military court acknowledged, the prosecution case relied on a multitude of misrepresentations of the materials of the case. Furthermore, the court determined that the military prosecutors presented evidence that was falsified.

For their part, military prosecutors appealed against the dismissal of the treason charges. The military prosecutor of the Pacific Fleet submitted a supplementary appeal on 29 August 2000 protesting "the unfair leniency of the sentence", calling for it to be annulled and for the ease to be tried anew at the Vladivostok military court. This would give military prosecutors the opportunity, once again, to commit Grigory Pasko to a long period of pretrial detention.

In 1993 Grigory Pasko filmed a Russian navy tanker dumping radioactive waste in the Sea of Japan. This film, Extra-dangerous Zone, was later shown by the Japanese TV station Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Japan Broadcasting Corporation, and by a TV station in Primorsky Krai, in far eastern Russia. In this film and a series of articles printed in the military newspaper Boyevaya Vakhta and the Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun. Grigory Pasko showed the threat to the environment caused by accidents in Russia's decaying nuclear submarine fleet. According to the articles and the broadcast, because of a shortage of money and high level corruption in the Pacific Fleet, the Russian navy had illegally dumped liquid and solid nuclear waste of the coast of Vladivostok, endangering the health of the population in the coastal areas of the Russian Federation, Japan and other countries.

Grigory Pasko was arrested in November 1997 by FSB officers at Vladivostok airport when he returned from an officially sanctioned trip to Japan to research a story about Russian sailors in Japan during World War II. FSB officers also searched his apartment and confiscated documents he bad gathered for his investigation. He was accused of passing classified information to Japanese agents. Although officials have admitted that none of the confiscated documents were classified, they claimed that taken as a whole, the series of articles and TV programmes published and aired over three years, posed a threat to national security.

In fact it is a violation of the Russian Constitution (Articles 41 and 42), and a crime under the Russian Criminal Code (Article 237), punishable by up to five years' imprisonment, to withhold information on the condition of the environment or on incidents or catastrophes that endanger human life - precisely the kind of information Grigory Pasko revealed.

Amnesty International
24 November 2000
AI Index: EUR 46/047/2000 - News Service Nr. 223

Russian Federation: Continued pressure on Grigory Pasko

Amnesty International today expressed its deep concern about the decision of the Military Collegium of Russia's Supreme Court, in which it ordered the military court of the Pacific Fleet to reconsider the case of the Russian journalist and environmentalist Grigory Pasko.

The human rights organization considers this court ruling as a sign of increasing pressure on environmental activists in the Russian Federation.

Grigory Pasko was arrested in 1997 for treason and espionage, after exposing the Russian navy's illegal dumping of nuclear waste. He was sentenced to three years' imprisonment by the military court in July 1999 on a lesser charge, but was then released under an amnesty. He had already spent 20 months in pretrial detention, 10 months of which was in solitary confinement. He was considered as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International at that time.

On 21 November 2000, the Military Collegium took its decision after the military prosecutor of the Pacific Fleet appealed against the dismissal of the more serious treason charge. The appeal was accepted on the basis that the details of the case had not been examined carefully enough.

Amnesty International believes that Grigory Pasko has done no more than peacefully exercise his fundamental right to freedom of expression. He should not have been prosecuted as he acted in full compliance with the Russian law.

Amnesty International will continue to monitor the case of Grigory Pasko and calls on the Russian authorities to drop all charges against him.

       *  More other material in the original Russian language on the case of Grigory Pasko has been compiled on the website