A new turn has appeared in the case of Grigory Pasko. On December 25, the court-martial of Russia’s Pacific Fleet declared military journalist Grigory Pasko guilty of espionage and sentenced him to a four-year imprisonment and the loss of his military rank and decorations. Pasko’s lawyers decided to appeal against the court decision and planned to appeal even to the European court for human rights, if necessary. This could have lasted for a long period, but President Vladimir Putin interfered with the case.
Speaking at a press conference in Paris on January 15, he said that Pasko’s case was of a purely juridical nature, and he would not participate in the discussion of the sentence. At the same time, the president mentioned that the journalist had been accused of the sale of top-secret documents to foreign citizens. It was also stressed that the fact was a proving; even Pasko’s attorneys did not call this into question. It was also mentioned that if the journalist hands in an appeal for pardon, the president will take it up. This was exactly what a majority of people expected from the president; for most people, it is quite evident that the journalist will be pardoned. It is also important that, recently, Federation Council Speaker Sergey Mironov said he was ready to vouch for Grigory Pasko. Moreover, it was he who recommended the journalist to address an appeal for pardon to the president.
A rather funny situation would then occur: Pasko hands in an appeal of pardon, the president pardons him, and the West is touched with the whole story. Everyone is pleased then; the president looks nice then, and his ratings go up.
However, Grigory Pasko broke the whole idyll: he thanked the president for his readiness to take up an appeal for pardon, but declared he would keep on fighting for his good name and a complete acquittal.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
In the photo: Journalist Grigory Pasko
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/16/35602.html