U.S. Law Professor Says He Was Denied Right to Attend Trial of Riga Four

An American law professor with credentials as a civil rights activist, was denied permission by Soviet authorities to attend the trial of four Jews in Riga last week or to visit any of the defendants. Prof. Henry McGee Jr., who teaches criminal law at the University of California, Los Angeles, gave the Jewish Telegraphic Agency an account today of his visit to the Soviet Union between May 22-30 and his fruitless efforts to observe the Riga trial. With obvious disgust, Prof. McGee said “I was scheduled to stay in Riga six days but I stayed only three. After three days my intourist guides told me it would be best for me to leave.” McGee said he particularly wanted to see Ruth Aleksandrovich, a 23-year-old nurse who was one of the defendants at the Riga trial. He had a letter from her mother, Mrs. Rivka Aleksandrovich, pleading with him to visit her daughter. But the Soviet authorities were unmoved, he said. He said he was also prevented from seeing members of her family. Prof. McGee visited Moscow, Leningrad and Riga. He had identification as chairman of the UCLA faculty committee for Angela Davis, an American black militant facing trial on charges of complicity in a kidnap-murder in California and a former UCLA faculty member. He is also a member of the National Committee of Law Professors of Major American Universities in Support of Defense Counsel for Miss Davis. McGee told the JTA that he arrived in Riga on the eve of the trial and asked about Miss Aleksandrovich but was not even informed that the trial was about to begin. “Instead, I was brought into contact with Riga Jews who are obviously establishment people and apologists for the Soviet authorities,” he said.

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