WASHINGTON (Aug. 12)
Four prominent Washington attorneys announced today that they are trying to go to the Soviet Union to guarantee a fair and open trial for the 18 Soviet Jews who were arrested on June 15 in raids connected with an alleged highjacking of a Soviet airliner at the Leningrad airport. The four attorneys – Meyer Feldman, former aide to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson; Joseph L. Raub, Jr., counsel to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and campaign organizer for Eugene McCarthy; labor lawyer Warren Woods, and Clifford L. Alexander, Jr., former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission – sent a cable last week to R.A. Rudenko, the Chief Prosecutor of the Soviet Union, asking to go to the Soviet Union and “interview the arrested persons, or at least their counsel, and to attend their trial.” In a press conference today the four lawyers said they had been asked to help by Israeli relatives of the imprisoned Jews. Eight of the Jews who were arrested signed letters to Russian authorities requesting permission to emigrate to Israel. Mr. Raub called the group a “watchdog” committee, which would put the light of publicity on the trial to assure fairness. Without them, he said. “These faceless people will just go down the drain.” Continuing, he stated; “Russia asked the world to accept the fact that there is more democracy than in the past. We’re asking them to demonstrate that. A negative answer to our request would be the most damning evidence to the credibility that they (the 18 Soviet Jews) will get a fair trial.” The attorneys volunteered their services at the request of B’nai B’rith whose aid was solicited by relatives in Israel of eight of the arrested Soviet Jews.