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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

12 Years Sought in Pasko Case

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East -- A military journalist accused of treason should get 12 years in a maximum-security prison and be stripped of his medals and rank, a prosecutor said Thursday.

The prosecutor, Colonel Konstantin Osipenko, said Captain Grigory Pasko doesn't deserve the maximum sentence of 20 years because his alleged spying did not affect Russia's national security, according to a defense statement.

Pasko, a reporter for the Pacific Fleet newspaper Boyevaya Vakhta, or Combat Vigil, is accused of treason and espionage. Details of the charges haven't been released.

Pasko did freelance work for Japan's NHK television company, and in 1993 he reportedly filmed a Russian tanker dumping nuclear waste at sea. Defense lawyers say the fleet is trying to convict him as punishment for that report.

The trial, which started in November, was put off Thursday until July 4 because the courtroom where it is taking place is needed for another hearing.

The defense insists that Pasko never did anything wrong and that papers taken from him when he was arrested in 1997 did not contain any secrets.

The defense scored a major victory this week when Justice Ministry experts concluded that government agents tampered with items taken from Pasko's apartment after his arrest. The experts said fake testimony had been inserted into a witness's written statement.