Lawyer Seeking to Represent Jewish Couple in Kiev Rebuffed by Soviet

A London lawyer seeking to represent a Jewish couple in Kiev in a case involving custody of their 10-year-old daughter has been denied a visa by the Soviet Consulate here for alleged lack of proof that the couple want him to defend them. The lawyer, Malvyn Benjamin, was asked by Simon and Eugenia Bernstein–who have applied for visas to Israel–to represent them in opposing a court injunction by Mrs. Bernstein’s first husband to restrain her from taking the child, Elena, out of the USSR. Mrs. Bernstein has always had custody of Elena and claims her first husband has never taken an interest in the child.

The couple tried to retain a Kiev lawyer, but none wanted to participate in a case involving migration to Israel. When they sought out Benjamin, he approached the Soviet Consulate here for a visa to Kiev and was asked to present a formal request from the Bernsteins. Although he subsequently learned that such a request was sent to him, he has never received it, and the Consulate has refused to accept his sworn affidavit that the request was sent.

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