USA consulate-general in Vladivostok, Russia's Far East, claims that its personnel were only "observers" in the actions for support of the local journalist Grigori Pasko, rather than actual participants. Grigori Pasko was sentenced to four years of prison the other day for passing classified information to Japan. As a sign of protest human rights defenders in Vladivostok gathered in front of the buildings of the Federal Security Service's local department and of the court martial. American general consul James Shoemaker and consul for political and economic problems Alexander Hamilton were present at those actions. RIA Novosti was told in the consulate-general's department of press and culture that Shoemaker and Hamilton "by no means participated in the process, and were mere observers." The diplomats emphasized that the Pasko case "does have something to do with the problem of human rights."