21.05.2000 | Karen Nersesyan, Pasko’s advocate

A Security service vs. Grigoriy Pasko


The court interrogated one of the main witnesses Yu.Otekin, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper ‘Boevaya vakhta’. In his testimony he completely destroyed the version of the prosecution about the alleged non-sanctioned missions of G.Pasko to strict regime objects, which threaten the ecological security. Mr. Otekin, who had known Pasko for more than 18 years, characterized him as a gifted journalist, the author of burning and significant articles.

In his publications Pasko reflected the facts of corruption among the top brass of the Pacific Navy, disclosed sinking of submarines and predicted ecological catastrophe on the Russian Pacific Coast as a result of criminal actions of the military commandment. All the involved facts were and are considered top secret, in spite of the direct prohibition (contained in the Constitution of Russia and related laws) to make similar facts secret.

Pasko’s journalistic activities were permanently harassed by military censors, mainly military censor V.Bolshakov. That was done contrary to Article 3 of the Russian law ‘On mass media’, which forbids any censorship. But regardless of the law everything was top secret, which regularly caused conflicts between the newspaper on the one hand and the military censorship and securiy service on the other hand.

On all his missions, including those to Japan, Pasko went, executing the task of the editorial board. Sometimes he went there on his own money, since the editorial board could not afford the expenditures. The newspaper ‘Boevaya vakhta’ cooperated with a number of foreign mass media, in particular with ‘Asahi’ with which Pasko contacted on behalf and with the permission of the editorial board of ‘Boevaya vakhta’. As to the episode of Pasko’s participation in the council martial of the Pacific Navy (as a representative of the newspaper ‘Boevaya vakhta’), witness Otekin explained that Pasko could not get any secret information at this council, and that he used his notes for writing an article, which is a usual practice for journalists. The accusation of Pasko in high treason is illegal and ill-grounded, said the witness. The witness noticed that more than 100 most actual articles were written by Pasko from 1992 to 1997, and they often contained the description of criminal actions of the commandment of the Pacific Navy and the passivity of federal security service in protecting the environment while utilization and burial of nuclear waste. That was why the authorities pulled him to the dock in the courtroom.

Judge Savushkin residing at the court session tried to impede the witness, stopping him when he tried to express his opinion. The accused and his advocates had to ask to record the testimony with the aim to prove the biased attitude of the judge.

This day the court received a directive of the security head of the Pacific Navy Satskov, who demanded to debar the public defender Tkachenko, the general director of the Russian PEN center, and Maksimenko, a representative of the Council of veterans. The reason is, according to Satskov, that these men have no access to participation in the closed trial. This demand caused indignation of the advocates, in which connection the judge postponed the solution of this question on indefinite time. The trial was suspended to 26 January 1999.

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