Military journalist Grigory Pasko was found guilty of spying by a Pacific Ocean Fleet court on Tuesday and sentenced to four years in prison for treason. He will also have his property confiscated. The journalist was taken into custody at the court and will serve out his sentence in a maximum security prison camp. Prosecutors were demanding that he be jailed for nine years. The journalist's lawyer Anatoly Pashkin said that the defence would fight to have the conviction overturned. In November 1997, Grigory Pasko was arrested at Vladivostok airport (the city is the administrative centre of the Maritime Territory), after he returned from a business trip to Japan. In July 1999, in his first closed hearing, Pasko was cleared in the spying charges, but convicted of exceeding his duties. The journalist was sentenced to three years, but was freed under an amnesty. The military board of the Supreme Court, taking into account that the article on espionage had been replaced by a more lenient one, quashed the judgement and sent the case back for investigation.
The massive explosion at the port of Beirut occurred due to the detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, which was seized in 2014 from the ship Rhosus