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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Accused Spy Keeps His Peace




A Russian naval officer arrested on suspicion of spying for Japan has refused to answer interrogators' questions, Interfax reported Thursday.


Captain Grigory Pasko, an editor of Russia's Pacific Fleet's newspaper Boyevaya Vakhta, or Combat Vigil, has been in jail since his arrest in Vladivostok on Sunday upon returning from a private trip to Japan.


Russian security services said customs agents who checked his baggage when he left for Niigata three days earlier found him to be carrying confidential documents about Russian defense facilities.


Pasko has refused to testify unless security agents return the papers confiscated during the arrest, saying he needs them for testimony, said his lawyer Oleg Kotlyarov.


Pasko also complained about bad prison conditions and asked to be released from custody, Interfax reported.


Pasko's lawyers have appealed his arrest.


Kotlyarov has said it was revenge by navy officials for Pasko's exposures of the environmental damage inflicted by the Pacific Fleet.


In 1993 Pasko reportedly filmed a Russian tanker dumping nuclear waste at sea for the Japanese NHK television company -- footage that caused a stir in Japan. Russia eventually agreed to stop the practice as Tokyo promised assistance in building a waste reprocessing plant.


General Viktor Kondratov, head of the local branch of the Russian Federal Security Service, the main successor of the KGB, denied that Pasko's arrest had anything to deal with his environmental exposures.


"It deals with state secrets concerning Russia's security," Kondratov said without elaboration.