Pasko granted early release from jail

A court has granted an early release to journalist Grigory Pasko, who was jailed for reporting on the Russian fleet’s dumping of radioactive waste in the Sea of Japan, writes Jon Slattery.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders welcomed the decision, which comes just six weeks after the Russian journalist was awarded the organisation’s prize for his contribution to the fight against censorship.

Pasko received remission for good conduct granted on completing two-thirds of his sentence.

He first spent a total of 20 months in prison between 1997 and 1999, prior to conviction. He was sentenced to four years in 2001 and was detained again for denouncing the Russian fleet’s dumping of radioactive waste.

Pasko’s conditions of detention were harsh. From December 2001 to September 2002, he was held in the Vladivostok detention centre in a cell with no light or electricity. On 10 September, he was transferred to a prison camp.

Amnesty International also welcomed the freeing of Pasko, but called for the release to be made unconditional and for his conviction to be quashed.

Jon Slattery

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