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Congressman Urges Levich’s Release

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Congressman Thomas M. Rees (D.Calif.) sent telegrams today to top Soviet leaders and to President Nixon urging the release of Soviet astrophysicist Evgeny Levich from the Soviet army because of his serious health problems, and requesting that he be allowed to emigrate with his family to Israel.

Rees charged that Levich apparently was forcibly inducted into the Soviet army as punishment for applying to go to Israel, and had been sent to Tiksi, in the Arctic region of the Soviet Union, and forced to dig ditches under severe weather conditions. Rees expressed fear that Levich would not be able to survive the harsh weather of the Soviet Arctic, and warned that his “serious medical condition is worsening critically as the result of poor conditions he is subjected to and by the denial of medical treatment. His life is in grave danger.”

Rees’ cable was sent to Communist Party Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev with copies to Marshall Andrei Grechko and to Dr. Boris Petrovsky, Soviet Health Minister. The Congressman appealed to Brezhnev “in the spirit of U.S.-USSR detente which your visit served to underscore” to release Levich, and to permit him, his father, Benjamin, who is the highest ranking Soviet Jewish scientist to have applied to go to Israel, and all the members of their family to emigrate to Israel.

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