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Jailed Russian reporter may be freed in January: lawyer
January 9, 2003

Russian environmental journalist Grigory Pasko, who is serving a four-year prison term for treason, may win his release as early as this month, the reporter's lawyer said Thursday.

According to Russian law, any prisoner who served two thirds of his jail term without any complaints by jail authorities could apply for release, Anatoly Pyshkin said. Officials at the prison near Russia's far-eastern city of Ussuriysk assured Pyshkin that they had filed all necessary documents which would be considered by a local court this month, the lawyer added.

"We hope that Grigory will be able to get free. In that case, he will spend the remaining 16 months of his term at home, and get back to his beloved job," Pyshkin said.

According to Pyshkin, Pasko spent his time in the prison camp working as a carpenter, but still found an opportunity to write on several ecological articles.

The Russian Supreme Court in June upheld a treason conviction against Pasko, a former naval officer who angered his former colleagues by writing an expose in 1993 concerning Russian navy dumping of nuclear waste in the Pacific.

Pasko was working in Vladivostok as a correspondent for the newspaper Boyevaya Vakhta when he was arrested in 1997 by officers from the Federal Security Service (FSB), successor to the KGB.

He was sentenced to a four-year term last December. On appeal, the Supreme Court's military chamber upheld the guilty verdict against him, striking out two clauses in the charge sheet, but maintaining the four-year sentence.

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