Person of the Week: Grigory Pasko

posted 3 Oct 2016, 05:04 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Oct 2016, 05:49 ]
On 27 September 2016 journalist and activist Grigory Pasko was attacked by unknown assailants in the city of Barnaul in the Altai region, where he was to give a seminar on investigative-reporting techniques. As RFE/RL reports, Pasko posted about the attack on Facebook on September 27 and said that he had been examined by doctors. The injuries he suffered were confirmed not to be serious. Pasko told Voice of America journalist Danila Galperovich that the assailants shouted, 'Get out of our city!' and warned him that they would attack him again. RFE/RL notes that the day before the attack, ‘Pasko had posted an article from a local newspaper in which a local nationalist activist complained that Pasko was a "foreign agent." Pasko wrote that unknown people were following him and loitering around his hotel.’  In an interview with Meduza, Pasko said he linked the attack on him with the FSB: 'When we conducted a similar seminar in Perm in April 2016, the man who rented us the space was approached by FSB officers and insistently told not to have anything to do with me. But the seminar took place anyway, and the man suffered no consequences, because he dealt with them politely and responsibly. Generally speaking I've been persecuted so insistently in cities all across the country that it's inevitable you start thinking there's a single centre of coordination.' 

Grigory Pasko is a former Russian naval officer and in 2002 -2008 he was founding editor of Ecology and Law, an environmental and citizens' rights magazine.

In November 1997, Pasko was arrested by Russian Federal Security Service agents in Vladivostok and accused of espionage for publications on environmental problems in the Sea of Japan. He was initially found not guilty because of alack of evidence. As a result of the efforts of his lawyers, including Ivan Pavlov, Pasko was convicted on only two charges out of sixty, including 'abuse of his official position'. He was then released immediately under a general amnesty. However, after a number of re-trials, the Court of the Pacific Fleet ultimately acquitted Pasko on all counts except espionage, sentencing him to four years in 2001. He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Pasko was released from prison in 2003.

'Russian Journalist, Environmental Activist Attacked,' RFE/RL, 27 September 2016
'"This time they tracked me down". Grigory Pasko speaks about the attack on him in Barnaul,' Rights in Russia, via Meduza, 27 September 2016
Grigory Pasko, Wikipedia