Writers in Prison - Grigory Pasko

Writers in Prison - Grigory Pasko

As memories of Soviet-style repression fade, what do we know of Russia today beyond the mafia, prostitution and supermodels; beyond growing differences between rich and poor; beyond the battle for status as an embryonic democracy under tight-lipped Putin? The case of the writer, journalist and naval captain Grigory Pasko suggests that more sinister forces are still at work. Pasko obtained evidence and wrote about the Russian Pacific Fleet dumping nuclear waste into the sea, he communicated with the Japanese press. Since his arrest in 1997, his right to a free trial; to freedom of expression; to his offence being clearly defined by law; and to his case being determined within a reasonable time have been violated. Detained until 1999 when all charges were dismissed, an appeal by the prosecuting authorities against his acquittal was accepted - and his own appeal was turned down. Pasko is now in a forced labour camp, and not due for release until 2004. He is, in effect, detained for the legitimate practice of his profession. Appeals for his release can be sent to:

His Excellency President Vladimir Putin
President of the Russian Federation
The Kremlin
Moscow
Russia.

Ania Corless

Ania Corless is a member of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee and foreign rights agent at David Higham Associates