Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB)–the domestic successor to the Soviet-era KGB–has in recent days stepped up its public campaign against Grigory Pasko. On January 28 the agency released a statement accusing Pasko’s defense team and news media of presenting a distorted picture of the Pasko case by portraying the military journalist as a defender of the environment and of press freedoms. The FSB also made the claim that the charges against Pasko–which have not been made public–involve “specific criminal offenses” which are unrelated to his journalistic and environmental activities.
In addition, the FSB statement accused Pasko’s defense team of using the news media to launch a public attack on those conducting the trial against Pasko. It suggested that Pasko’s lawyers were acting illegally when they questioned the competence of experts from various Russian government agencies who have been involved in building the case against Pasko. And, because the case has been classified as a state secret, the FSB warned that public statements by defense lawyers about the case could leave the lawyers themselves vulnerable to criminal charges.
Pasko’s lawyers, meanwhile, say that the trial against their client may, in fact, not be directly related to his reports on the Pacific Fleet’s dumping of nuclear wastes. Instead, they speculate, the case could be an effort to stop the reporter from following through on an investigation which he had begun into the alleged theft by local officials of Japanese aid earmarked for processing the wastes. Meanwhile, the ten-point indictment against Pasko remains classified (Itar-Tass, January 28; Russian TV, January 29).
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