Mild Sentence for Gavriel Shapiro; Judy Says He Should Have Been Freed
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Mild Sentence for Gavriel Shapiro; Judy Says He Should Have Been Freed

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Judy Silver Shapiro said today that she was "prepared to move and establish my home and family" in the Soviet Union "if there is no other alternative." She made that remark at a news conference here this afternoon following a telephone conversation with her husband, Gavriel Shapiro, who had just been sentenced by a Moscow court to one year of "corrective labor" on charges of evading military service.

Mrs. Shapiro, a 27-year-old social worker from Cincinnati who was married to Gavriel at a religious ceremony in Moscow June 8 expressed relief that the sentence was "not more severe." But, she said, in all justice her husband should have been released. "His confinement will prevent my being reunited with him. This is intolerable for a young couple recently married," she declared.

Shapiro will not be imprisoned, A corrective labor sentence permits him to live at home but he must work at a job approved by Soviet authorities for the period of the sentence. Mrs. Shapiro, who flew to Moscow without a visa Sunday night but was barred from entering Russia, said today that Soviet authorities told her they would never give her a visa. She said she sent cables this morning to Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev, President Nikolai Podgorny, chief Soviet prosecutor Roman Rudenko and the Soviet envoy to the United Nations, Yacov Malik begging clemency for her husband.

According to reports from Moscow, Shapiro’s trial lasted only two hours. He reportedly commented that his sentence was more lenient than expected and attributed this to his wife’s success in mobilizing public opinion and to pressure from the US government on Soviet authorities. Mrs. Shapiro said today that it was largely through world opinion and the press that her husband avoided imprisonment.


Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, director of the American Jewish Committee’s interreligious affairs department, one of the organizations that has been close to the Shapiro case from the start, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that Shapiro’s relatively light sentence could be attributed in large part to the active intervention of the US government. Rabbi Tanenbaum said "The White House, the State Department and the American Mission to the United Nations with whom we have been in regular contact, have made direct and forceful interventions on be half of the release of Gavriel Shapiro or a lenient sentence."

Mrs. Shapiro said her husband told her that during his brief trial today he had repeated several times to the judge that he and his wife were married according to Jewish and American law. In addition to their religious ceremony, performed by an American rabbi in Shapiro’s Moscow home last month, they were subsequently married by proxy by an American judge in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Shapiro said she would continue her efforts to obtain a visa to the Soviet Union and to try to get the Soviet authorities to grant her and Gavriel a civil marriage according to Soviet law.

Mrs. Shapiro said her husband told her that he informed the Moscow court that he had renounced his Soviet citizenship and had received Israeli citizenship conferred in absentia. She said he told her it was important that she come to Moscow or that they be reunited in the US and that she see President Nixon. Mrs. Shapiro said she sent another telegram to Nixon today. She said her phone conversation with her husband today "was the worst conversation in terms of Jamming,"


New York’s Mayor John V, Lindsay and three New York Congressmen intervened today on behalf of Gavriel Shapiro, Mayor Lindsay cabled the Mayor of Moscow urging him to exert his influence to obtain freedom for Shapiro and "to make it possible for him to join his American wife in the United States."

Reps. Edward Koch and Bertram Podell, New York Democrats, and Rep. Jack Kemp, a Republican, circulated a letter to members of Congress on behalf of Shapiro and another Jewish activist still facing trial, Mark Nashpitz. They were joined in the effort by Rep. Thomas M. Rees (D. Calif.). The letter noted that "Despite the welcome increase in emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel, the US and elsewhere, arrests, trials and harassment of other Soviet Jews continues." The letter was written by Richard Maass, chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry and Jerry Goodman, executive director.

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