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All Nine Kishinev Defendants Convicted, Sentenced to Labor Camps

All nine Jewish defendants in Kishinev were sentenced today to labor camp terms ranging from one to five years, Jewish sources here reported. The heaviest penalty was meted out to David Iserovich Chernoglaz, a 31-year-old agronomist with a wife and year-old child, who was arrested last June 15. Anatoly Moiseyevich Goldfeld was sentenced to four years; the prosecution had asked for five. Hillel Zalmanovich Shur, who went on a hunger strike and was said by the prosecution to deserve three years in prison, received a two-year term. Two-year terms were also meted out to Aleksander Galperin. Abraham Trakhtenberg. Semeon Abramovich Levit, Arkady Veleshin and Gari Kirshner, David Rabinovich got a one-year term. Because the trial was held in a Supreme Court, in this case the Moldavian, there are no appeals, but clemency is possible, Glena Richter, national coordinator of the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, said the sentences might have been less severe if world public opinion had been stronger. The defendants were charged with anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda and complicity in an alleged skyjacking attempt.

Philip E. Hoffman, president of the American Jewish Committee, said the organization was “especially incensed” at the sentences. “Political trials against Jewish dissidents…are the Soviet Union’s way of continuing a tradition of repression whose roots go back to Czarist times,” he said “The AJCommittee, established as a response to Russian bigotry and criminality, pledges itself to a continued struggle to rescue the Jews who are living under Soviet persecution today.” Dr. William A. Wexler, president of B’nai B’rith, said the conviction of the Kiahinev defendants called for “White House condemnation” of the “arrogant” Soviet policy of “denying basic human rights.” The convictions, he said, were part of the Kremlin’s “continuing campaign of intimidating Soviet Jews,” and “the political immorality inherent in these trials, arising from the Jews’ wish to emigrate, is no internal Soviet matter, but rather a violation of international principles and law.” Dr. Wexler, who is also chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, asserted: “The Soviet trials are contemptuous of these international obligations, and our government needs to speak out on this matter.”

Richard Maass, chairman of the American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry denounced the sentences as further examples of the Soviet Government’s continuing campaign to intimidate its Jewish citizens and to discourage them from applying for emigration to Israel. Urging increased world efforts to halt the trials of Soviet Jews, he called them “horrors of individual and group repression.” The Canadian Jewish Congress, in a cable to the Mayor of Kishinev, called the Kishinev trial “reminiscent of the worst excesses of Stalinism and Czarism” and asserted that the nine defendants “committed the alleged crime of wishing to live in Israel.” Monroe Abbey, president, and Saul Hayes, executive vice-president, appealed to the Kishinev Mayor to act to let Russian Jews who wished to go to Israel, “Including those before the court in Kishinev,” to do so immediately. A group of some 30 Russian immigrants who started a hunger strike soon after they arrived in Israel ended their action when the Kishinev verdicts were disclosed, Weakened by lack of food and by a strong sun and heat, the strikers expressed again their protect against verdicts against people whose “sole crime” was that they were Jews.

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