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Russia: Court Contests Basis for Pasko's Conviction

Moscow, 12 February 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The military branch of the Russian Supreme Court today ruled as "invalid" one of the Defense Ministry acts used to convict journalist Grigorii Pasko. The 1996 invalidated act provided a list of confidential information relating to armed forces. The court ruled today that the act was passed in violation of federal law.

Pasko was convicted in December of collecting classified information about the Russian navy with the intention of passing it on to Japanese media. Pasko was sentenced to four years in prison.

The Defense Ministry can appeal today's ruling within 10 days. Pasko's lawyers said a separate complaint appealing his conviction is expected to be heard next month.

Pasko says that his conviction is retaliation for reports that revealed environmental abuses by Russia's Pacific Fleet.