LONDON (Oct. 10)
Greville Janner, member of Parliament, charged today that Moscow activist Vladimir Slepak had been “tortured” by subjection to “callous and inhuman” treatment while serving a 15-day sentence for “obstruction.” Reporting details of a telephone conversation with Slepak, Janner said he would seek the aid of Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the International Red Cross, the United Nations Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International “in the hope that when the nature of this sort of torture is revealed to the world, Soviet authorities will be shamed into discontinuing its use.”
Slepak, who was arrested Sept. 19 during a hunger strike to protest the new emigration fees, said he was first kept in a cell at the police station for three days without bed or blanket, Janner reported. Then, he said, the activist was taken to Metroska Yeshena prison and kept in an enclosure where, according to Slepak, “there was no room to sit down, let alone lie down” and he “could not even lean against the wall because the walls were covered with spikes and nails protruding from the cement.”
Slepak described this enclosure as “a box of one meter by half a meter,” which is only 3.3 feet by 1.6 feet. The activist said further that during four subsequent days in an unheated windowless cell during “zero” weather, “my family were not permitted to bring warm clothing.” He spent eight days in another cell, he said, receiving hot food “only every other day.”
VISAS GRANTED FOR EXCESSIVE FEES
Meanwhile, Soviet Jewish sources reported that Prof. Herman Branover of Riga, the prominent Orthodox Jewish scientist, has been granted an exit visa after several rejections, but has been assessed 30,000 rubles ($37,500) for it under the new fee plan. Another Riga activist, Mikhail Ulman, whose family is already in Israel, has been billed 8000 rubles ($10,000).
(In New York, sources said Simon and Yevgenia Bernstein of Kiev have been assessed 16,000 rubles ($20,000) each for visas. Upon payment they will be allowed to go to Israel with Mrs. Bernstein’s 10-year-old daughter by a former marriage, Irena. The child’s father, David Bat, had sued the Bernsteins to prevent Irena from being taken out of the USSR. There was no explanation of why the Bernsteins have been allowed to leave before settlement of the case.
(New York sources also reported that according to Kiev Jews there has been “absolutely no letup” in the imposition of the new exit fees, despite some reports to that effect. The sources added that a number of Soviet Jews have been refused visas in recent days.)