Rigerman Afraid to Visit U.S. Embassy in Moscow Without Escort

Leonid Rigerman, a Russian Jew seeking to establish a claim to American citizenship, is afraid to visit the United States Embassy in Moscow unless the Embassy provides him with an escort, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today from Mr. Rigerman’s American attorney. Mr. Rigerman was arrested by Soviet police two weeks ago when he last attempted to enter the Embassy and spent seven days in jail on charges of resisting an officer. According to Daniel Greer, Deputy Commissioner of Ports and Terminals, Soviet guards barred Rigerman from the Embassy on three previous occasions–once on Sept. 8 and twice on Nov. 10. The New York City official, who met Rigerman in Moscow last summer, volunteered his services to help him press his citizenship claim.

Mr. Greer told the JTA that he was in telephone communication with is client Tuesday night. He said Rigerman informed him that he had been asked to come to the Embassy with his 60-year-old mother on Thursday to complete certain forms. Mr. Greer said that Rigerman intended to keep the appointment but changed his mind after considering the safety of his mother in light of his past experiences. Rigerman said he would ask the Embassy to assign an official to escort him to the building. Mr. Greer said he informed the State Department which now is considering whether to instruct the Moscow Embassy to provide an escort for Rigerman. Rigerman’s citizenship claim is based on the fact that his mother is American-born and his father is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He has lived in Russia all of his life. State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said earlier this week that Rigerman had an appointment at the Embassy Thursday. He said his claim was still under study and that U.S. authorities required additional information before reaching a decision.

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