92 Moscow Jews Released After Arrest

The American Jewish Conference on Soviet Jewry today confirmed the release of all 92 Soviet Jews detained in Moscow on Monday after they attempted to deliver a petition to the Communist Party Central Committee. The petition asked that they be told when their exit visas would be granted. The 92 Jews from six cities had been arrested after a five-man delegation entered the party headquarters. The authorities released 62 of the Jews after six hours of questioning, the Conference reported earlier in the week, and it has now become known that the remaining 30 were freed several hours later.

Speculating on the reason for the release of the protestors, the spokesman said the authorities may have feared that further detention would stir up protests throughout the world, especially in Canada at the end of Premier Alexei Kosygin’s visit there, and in France at the beginning of Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev’s tour in that country. “At the same time.” the Conference spokesman continued, it is possible that “it was only a coincidence in terms of timing” and “that the Soviet authorities had merely resorted to another in the continuing acts of harassment against Jews who have attempted to petition Communist and local authorities on Jewish rights, including the right to leave for Israel.”

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