Pasko, who worked for the Russian Pacific Fleet's newspaper, was originally arrested by the security police in November 1997.
He was accused of high treason through espionage, for handing over secret information regarding nuclear safety in the Pacific Fleet to the Japanese TV channel NHK. However, while he was acquitted of treason in 1999, he was convicted of “abuse of authority”. His three-year prison sentence was cut short due to his having served 20 months in pre-trial detention.
International observers have been concerned that the move signals a negative shift in the development of justice in Russia. Pasko referred to the decision as a “death sentence”, and critics of the retrial argued that the case against him lacks factual foundation and is thus an abuse of process.