Court takes a break

While last week’s expert interrogations brought up much dust, the present week has been calmer. The Court has mostly been occupied with carrying out various obligatory exercises. One of the interrogated witnesses did however, have a story to tell.

– They asked me to sign
On September 24 the Court interrogated one of the persons, who signed the preliminary expert evaluation of the presence of state secrets in the materials that allegedly were confiscated at Pasko’s flat in November 1997. The evaluation concluded that there was state secrets in the materials and was thus, important for the continuation of the case.

The witness, who works at Pacific Fleet’s headquarters, told the Court that although he had signed the evaluation, he took no part in it. The FSB had one day turned up at his place of residence with a ready-made document. He was asked to sign it and fulfilled the request. Thus, his explanation further fortified the impression that the case against Pasko was fabricated from its very start.

For the record, it might be added that another person, who the Court interrogated in August, also signed the document. This person refused just to sign the document, and enclosed an opinion on the matter, which was in favour of Pasko.

Court takes a break
The rest of the week did not produce much of interest. The trial has now been in progress since July 11, 2001. The Court has been gathered for more than forty days. Tthroughout these days it has questioned more than fifty witnesses. In addition ten others have given their explanations on various matters. Thus, the end of the trial is closing in.

The phonetic experts who have been given the task to evaluate whether it is Pasko who talks on the tape recordings of his telephone conversations have however, not yet produced their conclusion. Although Pasko says that it is his voice, an expert evaluation of the matter is still needed according to the Russian Criminal Procedure Code. If not, the Court’s examination of the case could be declared incomplete, and if that happens the stage is set for yet another Pasko-trial in the Pacific Fleet courthouse.

The Court does apparently not consider this as a dream scenario, and has therefore announced that it will take a break while it waits for the experts. It is reason to believe that the trial will resume on November 1, 2001.

Grigory Pasko was arrested in November 1997 on charges of espionage on behalf of the Japanese TV-station ‘NHK’. He was acquitted of espionage in July 1999, but convicted of abuse of his official authority and freed under a general amnesty. Seeking a full acquittal, Pasko appealed the verdict, but so did the prosecution, insisting he was a spy. The Military Collegium of the Russian Supreme Court cancelled the verdict in November 2000, and sent the case back to Vladivostok for a re-trial