I live to this day as well…
Grigory Pasko, journalist
Instead of an epigraph: «Endpiece of a modern fairytale: «And had the not been rehabilitated, they live to this day as well» — Jerzy Lec
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It goes without saying that I am disappointed by the decision of the European Court of Human Rights. But no more than that. The ECHR decision in any case is belated and doesn’t change anything in my life. Much worse is that this decision, in essence, is a spit into the souls of thousands of people: both those who are still waiting for positive decisions with respect to their cases (and may not live to see them) and those who supported me all these years.
I will try to take apart, point by point, the one paragraph from the court’s decision that is available to me.
«The Strasbourg court in its decision reminded that Pasko at themoment of the commission of his actions was not a journalist, but anofficer and was duty-bound to observe the boundaries that the militaryprofession imposes».
In this regard the ECHR completely ignores the fact that ALL militaryjournalists in Russia were governed in their activity by the law on themass information media. A law «On military mass information media» doesnot exist! A strange logic of the judges: if I was an officer, then Ihad no right to speak publicly about violations of the law (and thesecret dumping of radioactive waste in the sea – this is a crime!).Also strange is that the ECHR did not see the idiocy in the existenceof such a deformed symbiosis as «military journalist». Even today’sminister of defense of the RF noticed this oddity, having ordered tochange military personnel to civilians in the mass information mediasubordinated to the MOD.
«Both the legislative base on which the judgement of the year 2001 hadbeen issued, and the substantiations of the Russian judgments, the ECHRdeemed deserving of respect…»
What does respect to the entire legislative base have to do withanything here, if what was being spoken of in my application was aconcrete law and the fact that in the moment of the accusation it hadnot yet entered into force? Untenable too is the reference to Russianjudgments: the first was completely overturned by the Supreme Court;the second was substantially changed.
«…While the information that Pasko had transferred to the Japanese, inthe opinion of the judges, could in the event of disclosure have indeedcaused damage to the state security of Russia».
Two courts established that I had not transferred ANY information tothe Japanese. In the judgment, that has entered into legal force, iswritten: had the intention to transfer.
Even in the opinion of KGB experts, the information (notes in anotebook for the summing up of military exercises) MAY HAVE causeddamage in the event if it had been transferred. But, inasmuch as therewas no transfer, there was no damage.
«… Besides that, the ECHR reminded that Pasko had received punishmentmore lenient than the article of the CC on espionage prescribes».
If three jail-and-camp years sat through by an innocent person forhonestly carrying out the professional duties of a journalist – this,in the opinion of the ECHR, is normal, then all that’s left for me ismerely to regret about the quality of this decision and strongly hopethat it is not dictated by political expediency.
What else do I think about this decision as a whole?
By this decision the ECHR recognizes that a person can be called acriminal before the decision of a court; that experts in a caseinitiated by the KGB can be employees of the KGB;, that a case can beexamined for 6 years and this will not be considered an unreasonableterm; that you can apply not laws, but sub-legal acts and on theirbasis charge and convict people; that a journalist in Russia does nothave the right to express his opinion openly and that to write on thetopic of the environment a journalist does not have the right withoutthe permission of the organs of the KGB; that a ruling of the SupremeCourt of the RF that has entered into legal force on the falsificationof the materials of a criminal case – this is just something thateverybody dreamed…
Besides that, this decision casts doubt on the authority of AmnestyInternational, which in the year 1999 recognized me as a prisoner ofconscience. This decision throws a shadow on the competence of HumanRights Watch, Reporters sans frontiers, many international and Russianorganizations, both journalistic and environmental…Subjected is thecompetence of the European Parliament, which twice addressed the casein several resolutions (8 February 2002 and 4 July 2002). Likewise thejurists of the ECHR have thrown a shadow on their colleagues from theCommittee for juridical questions and human rights of the ParliamentaryAssembly of the Council of Europe, who in a recommendation to aresolution of 31 January of the year 2002 indicated that my convictionis based not on the law, but on a secret order of the ministry ofdefense.
And the last thing. Things aren’t sweet for independent journalistsin Russia as it is, without this. Article 10 of the Convention(«Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shallinclude freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart informationand ideas without interference by public authority and regardless offrontiers») used to be at least some kind of guarantor of the executionby them of their professional duties.
Now there practically is no such guarantor.
Photos: the inquisition in Vladivostok, in the opinion of the ECHR, was fair and just.