Americans Ask Moscow to Abolish Death Penalty for ‘economic Crimes’

A group of 223 prominent Americans sent a petition yesterday to the Soviet Government urging the abolition of the death penalty for economic crimes. The petition was submitted to the Soviet Ambassador in Washington, Anatoly E. Dobrynin, for transmission to Moscow.

The petition does not mention Jews but it is known that at least 26 of the 41 death sentences noted in the Soviet press for such crimes have been inflicted on Jews–nearly two-thirds of the total. Of the nine individuals whose executions were announced in the Soviet press , five are Jews.

Among the initiators of the petition were Norman Thomas, Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr. Linus C. Pauling and a number of liberals and pacifists who have not been unfriendly to the Soviet Union. In his letter of transmittal, Mr. Thomas, former Socialist party candidate for President, wrote Ambassador Dobrynin that, “as you can see, the individuals who joined with me in initiating this petition, as well as those who signed it, are all noted for their dedication both to civil liberties in our own country and to a world of peace.”

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