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Slepak’s Confinement Clarified

Jewish sources said today that Moscow activist Vladimir Slepak’s recent solitary confinement, while “cruel,” did not involve his being kept within walls “covered with spikes and nails” that prevented him from leaning against the wells. Such a situation was reported yesterday in London by Greville Janner, member of Parliament, following a telephone conversation with Slepak, who spent 20 hours in solitary confinement during an eight-day incarceration for “obstructionism” in staging a hunger strike.

The sources, attributing the earlier report to inaccurate translation, confirmed, however, that Slepak’s cell was “a box of one meter by half a meter” (3.3. feet by 1.6 feet) in which “there was no room to sit down, let alone lie down.” They added that the enclosure, which is commonly used in Soviet prisons, is around 6 feet high.

(In Washington, Dr. David Korn, chairman of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, reported that Slepak was visited by two men, identifying themselves as representatives of Novosti, the USSR’s overseas news agency, who queried him about the Janner statement. Dr. Korn said that if the pair were indeed Novosti men and not KGB (security police) agents, they might use Slepak’s correction of Janner’s claim to brand Slepak a liar.

A spokesman for the Hebrew day school movement expressed hope today that Constitutional means will be found to support the needs of nonpublic schools. Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky, director of Torah Umesorah, said he was disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling this week that an Ohio parochiad statute reimbursing the parents of nonpublic school children was unconstitutional. He said that support for the needs of private schools is indicated in the proposed income tax credits for non-public school parents now pending in Congress.

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