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Russia: Prosecutor Calls For Maximum Sentence For Pasko

Vladivostok, 13 December 2001 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian military journalist on trial for treason in the far-eastern city of Vladivostok is facing a possible sentence of nine years in a maximum-security prison. Grigorii Pasko is charged with divulging state secrets to Japanese news media on the combat readiness of the Russian Pacific Fleet.

Pasko was acquitted of the espionage charges in 1999, but found guilty of abuse of office. Seeking a full acquittal, Pasko appealed the verdict, as did prosecutors. The Supreme Court in Moscow sent the case back for a new trial.

The current trial is being held behind closed doors. But Pasko's lawyer, Anatolii Pyshkin, today said that a prosecutor once again accused Pasko of espionage and demanded the maximum-security prison sentence.

Pyshkin says the charges are retribution for Pasko's reporting on alleged environmental abuses by the Russian navy, including dumping radioactive waste into the Sea of Japan.