NEW YORK (May. 10)
One year ago tomorrow, an “infamous” trial of nine Jews “whose crime was their dedication to live as Jews” got underway in Leningrad, it was recalled today by Richard Maass, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. The defendants subsequently received labor-camp sentences ranging from one to 10 years. “Today in the Soviet Union.” Maass commented, “a situation exists where the Soviet government is using the vehicle of military duty to punish Jews who have expressed an active desire to emigrate to Israel. These Jews have gone into hiding, refusing to submit to the unjust and arbitrary use of the military as a repressive measure.”
Meanwhile, it was learned from the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry that the 14 Moscow activists ordered to report for reserve duty this morning did not show up, preferring to risk seven years in prison if found. According to Boris Kogen, another activist there, the 14 fear that if they serve in the reserves “even for one day,” they will be deemed privy to military secrets and retained in the service for five years. The situation is “very grave,” the SSSJ said.
In another development, Mrs. Ella Kukui has appealed to President Nixon to effect the release of her husband, Valeriy, of Sverdlovsk, who is serving a three-year term for disseminating “anti-Soviet” materials. The evidence submitted against him was “the result of pressure,” wrote Mrs. Kukui from Israel, where she lives with their 7-year-old daughter, and the charges against him were “never proven in court” since even the prosecution witnesses “refused to confirm” them. Mrs. Kukui wrote Nixon, “Help my family to reunite.”