Mass Sentences in Moscow
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Mass Sentences in Moscow

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Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported today that at least 15 Jews of the 60 arrested on Monday have now been sentenced to 15 days imprisonment each for “hooliganism.” According to the sources, this effectively puts them out of the way and stops them from campaigning for amnesty for Soviet Jewish prisoners during the 50th anniversary celebration of the establishment of the Soviet Federation which begins Dec. 30.

Among those sentenced were Vladimir Prestin, Viktor Polski, Boris Einbinder, Prof. David Azbel, Viktor Lapidus and his wife Zhenia Lapidus, Ida Nudel, Simon Pevzner and Gregory Kilmansky.

In addition, three Jewish women activists were arrested and sentenced to 15 days imprisonment when they came to police stations in Moscow to collect identity cards which had been taken away from them on Monday after they had been removed from the hall of the Supreme Soviet where a total of 50 persons staged a sit-in to protest the refusal by Soviet authorities to grant exit visas and to appeal for amnesty for Jewish political prisoners.

It had been reported earlier that 37 women among the 60 arrested Monday were released and that 23 men had been detained. Among the 23 were these reported today to have been sentenced to 15- day terms. The fate of the remaining eight is not immediately known. It was also reported earlier that two Jews from Kharkov who had participated in the sit-in at the Supreme Soviet were arrested when they were returned home and sentenced to 15 days in jail. Meanwhile in Kiev, three activists who participated in the sit-in, surnamed Soroka, Feldman and Melamed, who had left Moscow for home, are missing and no one seems to know their whereabouts.


In other developments. Professors Benjamin Levitch and Aleksander Lerner, two Jewish scientist-activists who have been demanding exit visas to go to Israel and were told to appear for a hearing on their visa requests, have published an open letter explaining that they had refused to appear before the so-called appeals committee of the ovir because they had discovered that it was not an appeals committee but a fictitious body. They also protested in their statement against the arrest of the 60 Jews and their sentences to imprisonment on a trumped up charge of “hooliganism.”

Meanwhile, 21 Jews in Vilna and Kovno have appealed to the International Red Cross and to the Magen David Adom In Israel for help in connection with the ransom tax on their exit visas, which the authorities are demanding. They say in their appeal that they cannot possibly raise these Kinds of monies unless helped by the Red Cross.

According to reports from Jewish sources, Gedalia Kipnis and his wife were detained on the frontier of the Soviet Union as they were traveling to Vienna. A thorough search of their belongings revealed nothing but the copy of a letter to a newspaper in Minsk protesting against anti-Semitism in the city. The exit visas were taken away from them and they were brought back to Minsk. Kipnis, 67, is in poor health after years in labor camps. Another signatory on this letter is Yefim Davidovich. He had his house searched and is now being threatened with a charge of libeling the Soviet Union.

It was also reported that Simon Levit and Harry Kirzner, who have recently been released from forced labor camps, are still in Kishinev, trying to secure their exit visas. In Moscow, a group of Jews who had been told to come to the ovir and appear before the appeals committee on Dec. 14 and 16. were told to come again on Dec. 18 and 19 and then again yesterday. They were then told that they would have to pay close to $8000 each for their exit visas. This group includes Viktor Yakhout and Lev Libov, two Jewish activists who, according to earlier reports, had received their exit visas along with Viktor Perelman, a Moscow Jewish Journalist.

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