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Grigory Pasko nominated for the Sakharov Prize


Russian Federation: Journalist and environmental activist Grigory Pasko to be nominated for the Sakharov Prize 2002

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

23 September 2002 EUR 46/036/2002

As the Russian journalist and environmental activist, Grigory Pasko, is to be nominated for the Sakharov Prize 2002, Amnesty International re-iterated its call for his immediate and unconditional release.

The European Parliament Green Group is to hold a press-conference and hearing at the European Parliament, Low S 2.2, Alexander Langer Room in Strasbourg on 25 September 2002 from 5 pm with:

MEP Daniel Cohn Bendit, Co-President of the Green/EFA Group

Alexandr Nikitin, Head of the Environmental Rights Centre Bellona, St Petersburg;

Sergei Kovalev, Member of the Russian Duma, former dissident, and Honorary President of "Memorial";

Alexey Simonov, President of the Glasnost Foundation;

Noel Mamere, French MP from Les Verts;

Bart Staes, Chairman of the Delegation to EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee;

Matti Wuori, MEP and parliamentary rapporteur for human rights;

Soizick Martin, Director Bellona Europa.

Jon Gauslaa, legal advisor to Bellona Norway.

Background

Grigory Pasko, a reporter for a Russian Pacific Fleet newspaper, was sent to a labour camp on 11 September to serve the rest of his four year sentence, after being convicted in a Vladivostok Court in the Russian Far East in December 2001 for treason for allegedly trying to pass sensitive information to the Japanese media. In 1993 Grigory Pasko filmed a Russian navy tanker dumping radioactive waste and ammunition in the Sea of Japan. In this film and in a series of articles he showed the threat to the environment caused by ships of Russia's decaying Pacific fleet, including nuclear submarines. He also reported on corruption inside the fleet and he passed on public information on these issues to Japanese journalists.

Amnesty International is following closely Pasko's case. The organisation believes that his prosecution appeared to be motivated by political reprisal for exposing corruption in the Russian Pacific Fleet and the practice of dumping nuclear waste into the sea. Amnesty International is of the opinion that as such the case appears to be a clear breach of national and international norms protecting freedom of expression that the Russian state is obliged to protect.

Amnesty International adopted the Russian journalist and environmental activist, Grigory Pasko, as a prisoner of conscience in January 2002.

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