Mrs. Butman, Wife of Leningrad Defendant, Says Her Husband Will Not Accept Charges

“My husband, Hillel Butman, will not accept any charges against him,” Mrs. Eva Butman told the newspaper Maariv this morning by telephone from Leningrad. “All we did,” she insisted, “was to ask back in April, 1970, a permit to go to Israel. This was made legally.” The Soviet news agency, Tass, reported late Tuesday that Butman, a 38 year-old engineer and father of a small daughter, had admitted organizing an attempted hijacking at the Leningrad airport last June 15 and had begged the court for mercy. Mrs. Butman said that her husband’s contact with Maj. Mark Dymshitz, convicted in Leningrad last December in the alleged plot, had sought Butman’s help only in preparing emigration applications. Mrs. Butman added that the atmosphere in Leningrad now is very hostile to the nine Jewish defendants. (Tass reported today that Butman incriminated the eight other defendants. He was said to have specified that Mikhail Korenblit had provided the weapons, and that Viktor Shtilbans had prepared narcotics for drugging the airliner crew. Tass also said Lev Korenblit admitted acquiring an axe and a shovel for the plot. Late yesterday, Tass identified three persons charged with being the go-betweens in a “criminal” liaison between defendant Vladimir Osherovich Mogilever and alleged conspirators in Israel. The three names given by Tass were Donald Malament, an American student who was in Leningrad in 1969 and 1970 on an exchange program; Osher Plank, who had left the USSR for Israel, and a Norwegian tourist named Aronson. Tass added that Shtilbans condemned the “anti-Soviet hooligan and criminal actions” by the Jewish Defense League.)

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