‘Tis the Treason
It was a grim holiday season for Grigory Pasko, a Russian journalist who was sentenced on Dec. 25 to four years in prison on charges of high treason. A military reporter with an interest in environmental issues, Pasko documented the Russian Navy’s practice of dumping old weapons and nuclear waste into the ocean. The treason charges stem from allegations that Pasko shared classified information about the Navy with colleagues in Japan. Russian civil liberties advocates say Pasko’s case is an example of widespread state suppression of journalistic freedoms; the U.S. State Department has asked Russia to release Pasko pending his appeal and make sure he is given a prompt and fair trial. A Russian prosecutor, meanwhile, is also appealing the case, saying the four-year prison term is too lenient.