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The Case of Grigory Pasko: Long Way to Justice

Grigory Pasko has got his liberty. Though it was a grant of parole, but he is at freedom at last. Now he is at home already and is going to leave for Moscow within the next few days. Pasko was released from custody on conditions according to the decision of city court of Ussuriysk, which sitting was held January 23.

However it is still far from the final of Pasko's case. Grigory is going to appeal against accusatory sentence and to achieve absolute acquittal. One year and one month, which Pasko spent in the second imprisonment, was full of events. The defense of Grigory, different public and other organizations tried to do their best to support the journalist.

The chronicle of main events after the second detention

December, 2002
the Pasko's advocates have prepared the complaint to be lodged in the European Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg. The following infringements of the European Human Rights Convention by Russian judicial system are listed in the complaint: the right to trial within a reasonable time; the right to a fair and public hearing, in particular, an access of defense to the procedural documents should be guaranteed; the right not to be subjected to accusation or punishment, if those are fulfilled applying a law with retroactive effect or free interpretation of law; the right to free expression of opinion.

End of November, 2002
the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) intended to assign Rudolf Bindig, its representative and observer of Pasko's case for visiting the journalist in Ussuriysk high security colony, but European representatives have not received an affirmative reply from Russian officials.

September 10, 2002
the wife of Grigory Pasko let know by telephone, that her husband is sent in colony N41 near Ussuriysk, about hundred kilometres north-west from Vladivostok.

June 25, 2002
Military Board of the Supreme Court of Russian Federation contributed its share in the chronicle of absurd: the higher degree of jurisdiction of the country has shown the adherence to the "best" totalitarian traditions. "The Most Fair Court" has upheld the sentence on the case of journalist and environmentalist Grigory Pasko, the verdict that was absolutely absurd from the very beginning, thus having made it even more nonsense. The court has excluded two "insignificant" circumstances from the verdict: it turns out that Pasko had the right to be present at the session of the military council of Pacific Fleet (in illegal penetration to which Pasko was persistently accused, in spite that nobody seen him there). The court has decided, that Pasko also had the right to communicate with foreigners, that also was one of the basic items of accusation. It turns out, that nothing remained from the verdict except its force. Since that moment Grigory could at any day be sent in custody.

May 7, 2002
in Moscow the Appeal Board of the Supreme Court of Russian Federation has declared that the order of the Ministry of Defense N 010, which was used in the sentence of the journalist Grigory Pasko, is void since 1993. And the second order also used in accusation of Pasko N 055 is not the statutory act. This decision once again confirms illegality of accusation against Pasko. But Grigory still was kept in prison.

February 13, 2002
one more order of the Ministry of Defense was cancelled. The Supreme Court of Russian Federation, having considered the complaint of the advocates of Pasko, has decided to declare invalid one of the items of the military department's order. Now military men, which are admitted to State Secret can communicate with foreigners. The interdiction that was in force for many years was cancelled. Ivan Pavlov, the advocate of Pasko believes that only such decision was correct.

Then, according to the lawyer Ivan Pavlov, the case of the military journalist should be reconsidered in the court of review. The defense counsel is convinced, that the Ministry of Defense "went beyond its commission, trespassed in the competence of legislators and has broken thus the Constitution of Russian Federation and the Law 'About State Secret'."

February 12, 2002
the Military Board of the Supreme Court has declared the order of the Ministry of Defense of 1996, which provides the list of the items of information that subject security classifying in the armed forces, void and not having legal effect since the Court decision comes into validity. In other words, the Supreme Court made extremely original decision. The mentioned order had no validity from the very beginning, as it wasn't properly registered. However Vladivostok regional court "operated" by this order in the trial on the case of Grigory Pasko.

Now the Supreme Court has declared this order illegal, but since the moment when its decision of 12.02.2002 "comes into effect". That is the Supreme Court, has actually " sanctified" the sentences of Pasko and other persons illegally kept in custody, having winked at for years before that illegal document had been applied by courts, which using that putted people into prison.

February 4, 2002
the defense counsels of Grigory Pasko have received from the Supreme Court of Russian Federation the answer on the complaint about illegal preventive punishment that their client was subjected - holding in custody. Juriy Parchomchuk, the judge of the Supreme Court of Russian Federation has informed the lawyers, that this matter will be considered at the same time with the complaint on verdict Pacific Navy Military Court, according to which the journalist was found guilty of high treason.

January, 2002.
Series of actions in support of Grigory Pasko took place in different cities of Russia - from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. Also in January, 2002 the President Putin visited Paris, where he had to answer "uncomfortable" questions on the Pasko's case. After that the representatives of the Russian intelligentsia have addressed to the President with letter, in which, in particular, is spoken: "We are justified to believe, that the verdict was pronounced under the pressure of investigating agencies. We hope that the President of the great country should be uneasy with that circumstance, that executive authorities put pressure on the judicial system, -that fact puts serious damage to authority of the country and undermines the idea of creation of constitutional state... We hope, that you, as the head of state and guarantor of the Constitution, can prevent supremacy of ambitions of executive departments over the Law".
The letter was signed by famous Russian actors, writers, journalists, human rights defenders ("Civil Control", Moscow Helsinki Group), parliament deputies, and academicians.

December 26, 2001
the international organization "Reporters Sans Frontiers" has directed the letters to Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia and Vyacheslav Lebedev, the Chairman of the Supreme Court. In these letters Rober Menar, the secretary general of the "Reporters Sans Frontiers" has expressed the indignation related to the verdict of guilty of Grigory Pasko:

"Grigory Pasko has already spent twenty months in prison only because he carried out his journalist duty - informed public. It is impossible to agree this scandalous and unjustified verdict. It is obvious, that its only purpose is the desire to force the Russian press to break off and to not concern in the publications of the significant problems, which have public importance", - says Rober Menar and declares: "We demand immediate discharge of Grigory Pasko, setting aside of judgement and bringing in a verdict of not guilty".

Those twenty months in investigation isolator Grigory continued to write. As a in result, for the first time released from custody, he published several books, including "We Singing To Deafs", prose written in investigation isolator.

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