NEW YORK (Mar. 28)
Isaak Shkolnik. a 37-year-old mechanic from Vinnitsa in the Ukraine, will go on trial tomorrow before a closed military court on charges of “anti-Soviet propaganda” and “treason,” the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported today. Originally charged with spying for Great Britain, the semi-skilled laborer and mechanic is now accused instead of spying for Israel, the NCSJ said.
Jerry Goodman, NCSJ executive director, said an appeal on Shkolnik’s behalf has been sent to Secretary of State William P. Rogers urging “intervention by the Administration” in an effort to alert Soviet officials that “this and other trials place further obstacles in better relations between our two countries.” In fact, he said, the forthcoming trial is a “regressive measure and will do nothing to convince critics of Soviet anti-Jewish policies that recent Soviet promises regarding Jews are to be taken seriously.” In addition to appealing to the Secretary of State, Jewish organizations and local communities have sent hundreds of telegrams and made telephone appeals to officials in Vinnitsa, Moscow and Washington.
Jewish sources in the Soviet Union reported yesterday that Prof. Andrei Sakharov, the Soviet nuclear scientist who constructed the Soviet hydrogen bomb, has recently been questioned by the Soviet secret police (KGB). Chairman of the Soviet Committee for Human Rights, an unofficial body, and a leader of Soviet dissenters, Sakharov last September joined a protest by non-Jews against the murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. At that time, he was detained briefly by police outside the Lebanese Embassy, but released the same day.