NEW YORK (Feb. 10)
A secret trial of six Russians–at least four of them Jews–was held in the Russian town of Ryazan a year ago, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today from authoritative Jewish sources. The four defendants known to be Jewish were sentenced to prison terms of 3 to 7 years for anti-Soviet organizing and propaganda. The two other defendants, believed to be non-Jewish, also received jail terms. There was no immediate explanation of why news of the trial had not filtered out earlier. Ryazan, however, is a small town with few Jews, and thus the trial may not have become known for months. Ryazan is located about 115 miles southeast of Moscow. The Jewish defendants were described as follows: Shimon Grilius, 25, a ship repairer who defended himself, was sentenced to 5 years at labor. Yuri Beniaminovich Budka, 23, who was taking correspondence courses of the Institute of Radio Technology, was given 7 years at labor and one year of expulsion from the country: his brother, Valeri Beniaminovich Budka, 20, a student at the Institute, received a 3-year prison term; and Semion Zaslavski, 22, also a student at the Institute, had his 3-year sentence suspended when he repented.
The Budkas reportedly signed petitions urging emigration rights for Soviet Jews. Grilius was said to have been arrested in August, 1969; his home was then searched, and Hebrew books and recordings were appropriated. The other two prisoners were Oleg Frolov, 22, who was given 5 years at labor, and Yevgeni Mortimonov, 22, whose 3-year sentence was suspended because of his heart condition. Both were students. According to the sources, the prosecutor sought 7 years in prison and 3 years’ banishment for Yuri Budka, 5 years’ labor for Frolov and 3 years’ labor for Valeri Budka. The prosecutor was identified by the sources as Dubtsov, the judge as Matveiev, and the defense attorneys as Kogan, Trukhacheva and Titov. At least one of the attorneys, Kogan, is believed to be Jewish, as his name is the Russian equivalent of Cohen. Entry to the trial, which ran Feb. 10-19, 1970, was said to have been by invitation only, with relatives probably not admitted. There were reportedly 20 witnesses examined, with the evidence including Hebrew books and recordings and a pamphlet titled “Dror,” the Hebrew word for freedom. Following the sentencing, the Jewish defendants were said to have cried out “Next year in Jerusalem!”