NEW YORK (Jul. 9)
Mrs. Judith Silver Shapiro said at a press conference here that should her husband, Moscow activist Gavriel Shapiro, be convicted “as a common original” only “because he wrote a letter to the President (of the United States),” it would have to be “taken by American citizens as a direct and gratuitous insult to the President and our government.” Mrs. Shapiro added that she was “hopeful that the US government will make it clear that that is how this case must be viewed.” The charge against Shapiro-evading further military training is “totally baseless,” she said, noting that he appeared as scheduled for an April 25 physical. The pross conference was arranged by the American Jewish Committee.
“Most outrageous,” she continued, is the Soviet government’s refusal to recognize her Orthodox marriage in Moscow and her proxy civil marriage in Washington. “Based on the advice given me by leading authorities on Soviet law in the United States,” she said, “I am in fact also Gavriel Shapiro’s wife under Soviet law. It is contrary to every standard of international morality and human decency for the Soviets to deny me the right to be at my husband’s side if he must go through a trial with such a severe sentence, for a crime of which he is not guilty.” The trial is expected to open this week. Mrs. Shapiro called it a “phony, Stalin-type” closed trial.
She said she had sent President Nixon a sixth appeal asking him to help free her husband. She released an appeal to Anatoly F. Dobrynin. the Soviet Ambassador in Washington, signed by 65 Congressmen. One of them, Jesuit Fr. Robert F. Drinan, said in a separate appeal, in part: “At a time when Congress is called upon to ratify important American-Soviet agreements, and when other critical issues of mutual concern are being considered by our government, many members of Congress are looking toward the Soviet Union for evidence of the good faith and humane compassion which characterizes a great and powerful nation. . . .Our (the signers) commitment to this cause shall not end until the Shapiros are in fact reunited. It would be regrettable if avoidable friction were caused by the failure of the Soviet government to act humanely in this nature.”