NEW YORK (Sep. 24)
Jewish activist Gavriel Shapiro was released from a prison 60 miles outside Moscow Friday after three days of detention for undisclosed reasons, it was reported here today. The information was relayed by Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, director of the American Jewish Committee’s inter-religious affairs department, who has been in touch with Jewish sources in Moscow.
Shapiro, sentenced last July to one year of “corrective labor” for alleged draft evasion, was arrested by militiamen last Tuesday, the day he was to have started serving his sentence. “Corrective labor” permits the defendant to live at home but requires him to work at a job designated by the authorities. Shapiro was at his parents’ Moscow home when he was arrested. The militia gave no reason for his arrest or for his release, Rabbi Tanenbaum said.
Rabbi Tanenbaum also said that US State Department officials confirmed to him that the Supreme Soviet ratified the stiff visa fees imposed on Jewish intellectuals and academicians seeking to leave the Soviet Union. The ratification occurred during a two-day session of the Soviet parliament last week, according to a report Friday from Tel Aviv based on Radio Moscow’s Hebrew transmittal to Israel.
Reports from Jewish sources in the USSR last Thursday claimed that the decree, promulgated Aug. 3 by the Council of Ministers, had not come before the Supreme Soviet for ratification. Rabbi Tanenbaum, who met with State Department officials Friday, indicated that they had been informed of the ratification action by Soviet authorities. The AJCommittee official also said he was informed that Soviet authorities have affirmed that emigration will be permitted to continue largely unchanged as far as average-skill Russian Jews are concerned.