NEW YORK (May. 24)
A petition to Leonid I. Brezhnev, Soviet Communist Party leader, urging immediate release of Evgeny Levich, 25-year-old astrophysicist from a military compound in Eastern Siberia, where he was taken forcibly last Wednesday, was signed today by over 1000 medical specialists from 50 states attending the annual conference of the American Gastroenterological Association at the Americana Hotel.
The petition, introduced by Dr. Morton I. Grossman, Professor of Medicine and Physiology at U.C.L.A. in California, stated that unless Levich is allowed to continue his medical treatment, “we firmly believe that his health will be severely deteriorated and place him in grave jeopardy of survival.”
The petition calling upon Brezhnev to intercede personally for the return of Levich to Moscow and to essential medical treatment he had been receiving at the Moscow Cancer Dispensary stated, in part:
“The American medical community is shocked that as a reprisal measure against Evgeny and his father, Benjamin Levich, world renowned theoretical physicist and electrochemist, for their desire to emigrate to Israel, the Soviet authorities are subjecting this young person, with serious ulcerative colitus and possible cancerous tumor developments, to the harsh environment and excessive pressures of army duty in the Soviet Far East.”
The American Gastroenterological Association is expected also to pass a resolution on the emergency nature of the Levich situation that will urge all members of the medical, academic and scientific communities to express their concern to Dr. Boris Petrovsky, Soviet Minister of Health; Dr. Kirillin, Soviet Minister of Science; Dr. Marshall Grechko, Soviet Minister of Defense; and to Brezhnev asking for Levich’s freedom on humanitarian grounds.