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Fear Moscow Jews Face Trial in Sverdlovsk

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The Soviet secret police is trying to involve three Jewish activists from Moscow in the trial of Vladimir Markman scheduled to open shortly in Sverdlovsk. Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported today. The sources said that under interrogated by the KGB, Markman was asked repeatedly about alleged contacts with Vladimir Slepak, Valentina Prestin and Viktor Polski, all of Moscow. All have applied for visas to go to Israel.

Although he denied having anything to do with them, the three may be forced to stand trial with Markman as co-defendants. The charges against Markman relate to alleged “anti-Soviet activities.” The sources said Soviet authorities would prefer to have Slepak, Prestin and Polski stand trial in Sverdlovsk, an industrial city in the Urals, rather than in Moscow where the trial would attract the attention of the Western press.

The sources claimed that a KGB Col., N. S. Pozdniadov tried to persuade the three Moscow Jews to testify against Markman by promising them quick action on their exit visas if they complied. The sources said that all three refused. According to Jewish circles in the USSR, the Sverdlovsk trial may be followed by other “show trials” of alleged Zionist activists.

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