Kukui Appeal to Be Heard; Residents Term Sentence Miscarriage of Justice

The appeal of Valeriy Kukui, sentenced recently to three years for “anti-Soviet slander,” will be heard tomorrow in Moscow, according to reports from Jewish sources there. They added that the 33-year-old prisoner’s attorney, Leonid Popov, has withdrawn from the case on the grounds that numerous telephone calls from abroad in connection with the case were interfering with his work. His work on Kukui’s behalf, the sources commented, has been half-hearted anyway, his position being that a one-year term would have been sufficient for Kukui’s alleged offense. (In New York, usually reliable Jewish sources confirmed Popov’s departure from the case, but could not confirm the hearing date.) Meanwhile, a group of residents of Kukui’s city, Sverdlovsk, have written to the government newspaper. Izvestia, to point out that none of the prosecution witnesses had supported the charges against the defendant and calling his sentence a miscarriage of justice. Kukui himself told the court then: “Nothing will stop me from going to Israel.”

Also in New York; it was reliably reported today that eight residents of Sverdlovsk have written to the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic, stating: “Even on the background of the awful trials against Jews,” they wrote, ‘the trial of Kukui is a malpractice and contempt of elementary Constitutional rights. We are expecting justice and we demand the release of Valeriy Kukui.” The letter was signed by Ella Kukui, the prisoner’s wife; Vladimir Aks, Ilya Voltovetsky, Vera Veitovetskaya, Yula Kosharovsky. Vladimir Makman, Dina Zhenin and Margarita Kisselman. In addition, Mrs. Kukui cabled the British Broadcasting Corporation and Kol Israel yesterday to thank them and “all the friends of Valeriy Kukui who sent cables of sympathy, help and support that my husband would soon be freed.” And she wired Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, asking him to “use your influence, the prestige of your family to achieve justice and the release of my husband, Valeriy Kukui, (and) to arrange for our going to our homeland, Israel.” In Kiev, the 10 Jews arrested Aug. 1 for trying to mark Tisha b’ Av by visiting the Babi Yar mass grave have protested their 15-day sentences for “hooliganism” in a letter to the Prosecutor General. Their wives protested separately to the Supreme Soviet.

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