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Gavriel Shapiro Released from Moscow Jail to Await Trial

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Gavriel Shapiro was released from a Moscow jail Friday night pending trial on charges as yet unspecified. His wife, Judy Silver Shapiro of Cincinnati, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that she spoke to her husband by phone last night. It was the first time they spoke since Shapiro was arrested at Moscow Airport June 12, the day his wife was forced to leave Russia because her visa expired.

Mrs. Shapiro told the JTA that she was greatly relieved at her husband’s release from prison during the pre-trial investigation and that she “prayed this is a significant step forward toward his final release and his being given the human right to emigrate.” She said she could not learn from her husband the nature of the charges for which he will be tried or when his trial would begin. But she said that he and his Soviet attorney were scheduled to meet Monday with the Soviet official investigating his case. The official was identified by Mrs. Shapiro earlier as Yury Nikoloyovitch Gorbunov. Shapiro’s attorney is believed to be a prominent Soviet lawyer who has defended dissidents in the past.

Mrs. Shapiro said she reached her husband by phone at the home of a friend because his telephone was “still out of order. When she asked him how he felt, he replied, “I am stronger than ever,” she told the JTA. But she reported that when he was first jailed, prison officials shaved his head and cut off his beard. “This is a sign of presumed guilt, even before trial,” she said, adding that “these actions are the cause of deepest concern for me and for my family.” Mrs. Shapiro said that as an American citizen she was calling on her government “which has thus far demonstrated great understanding and sympathy for my husband’s case, to remain vigilant during the coming hours and days in order to assure that the causes of justice and human rights of Gavriel are not violated.”

Mrs. Shapiro told the JTA that she has “received a great deal of help” from the State Department in her efforts to procure a visa to return to the Soviet Union. Asked if she had received any assistance from the White House she would not comment.

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