NEW YORK (Jun. 26)
Judy Silver Shapiro said today that the Soviet official investigating the case of her husband, Gavriel, informed her that she could come to Moscow to attend his trial and bring a lawyer. Mrs. Shapiro made the disclosure at a press conference here. She read the transcript of a telephone conversation she said she had at 3 a.m. today with the official in Moscow. Yury Nikoloyovitch Gorbunov. She said Gorbunov would not tell her what the charges against her husband are or when his trial would begin. Mrs. Shapiro said he would probably go on trial this Friday, June 30.
The 23-year-old Cincinnati social worker was married to the Russian-Jewish activist in a religious ceremony at his Moscow home June 8 but was forced to leave the Soviet Union four days later when her visa expired. She said today that the State Department promised to help her procure another visa but gave her no assurances that she would get one. Her husband was arrested June 12, the day she left Russia and has been imprisoned since then. Jewish sources reported yesterday that he was being charged with violation of Art. 98 of the Soviet penal code which concerns evasion of military duty.
Mrs. Shapiro disclosed today that she has sent four telegrams to President Nixon since returning to the US, asking for his personal intervention in the case. She sent a fifth today. “President Nixon his never acknowledged my telegrams,” she said. She said she had asked that a member of the US Consular Staff in Moscow be present at her husband’s trial but had no response from the State Department. Mrs. Shapiro also disclosed that leading American attorneys were organizing a committee to look into the legal aspects of the Shapiro case and that she has been in contact with former US Attorney General Ramsay Clark, who will be a member of the committee.
Mrs. Shapiro stated that her husband’s only crimes were to be a Jewish activist and to have said publicly that he wanted to see President Nixon when the President visited Moscow on his summit trip last month. “His third crime was to marry me,” she said. She said that in addition to telegraphing President Nixon she has been in contact with numerous Senators and Representatives and has sent cables to Soviet Communist Party Secretary General Leonid Brezhnev, Roman Rudenko, the chief Soviet prosecutor, and Anatoly F, Dobrynin, the Soviet Ambassador in Washington,
Rabbi Henry Siegman, executive vice-president of the Synagogue Council of America disclosed today that he had cabled Soviet Premier Kosygin protesting the denial of Shapiro’s civil rights as guaranteed by the Soviet constitution.
According to the transcript of her telephone conversation with Gorbunov Mrs. Shapiro asked “Can his (Shapiro’s) parents see him?” The answer was “No, no one can see him.” Mrs. Shapiro told the Soviet official, “The whole world will know. There is no more time for Stalinist trials,” Gorbunov answered, “Yes, I know. A lawyer can come to Moscow I’m inviting a lawyer.” At that point she asked, “Can I attend the trial?” The answer was “Yes.” Mrs. Shapiro asked. “is Gavriel well?” The reply was, “Gavriel is alive and healthy.