NEW YORK (Jan. 24)
A Soviet lawyer indicated the Soviet government for railroading Aleksandr Feldman to jail and requested that the verdict “be repealed from the stage of the preliminary investigation.” The document was released today by the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry at a press conference here. Stanley H. Lowell, Conference chairman, noted that the document “is the first of its kind ever made public outside the Soviet Union.” It is a stinging indictment of the Soviet legal system in the case of Feldman but indicates to us that the same method of railroading is used in the cases of other Jews who wish to emigrate.”
The document, smuggled out of the USSR by City Council President Paul O’Dwyer and Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton when they were there last month, is the court brief presented by I.S. Ezhov, who was Feldman’s lawyer during the trial last Nov. when the 26-year-old Jewish engineer was sentenced to 3 1/2 years at hard labor for allegedly hitting a woman and injuring her in the process. The six-page brief was written by Ezhov and just translated here.
According to the verdict, Ezhov states, Feldman was found guilty of assaulting Tellakova Valentina by hitting her with his briefcase, knocking a cake out of her hand and using obscene language. He was also charged with resisting two men who tried to help her and engaging in altercations with both persons. The one-day trial was held in a Kiev factory and Feldman’s family was not allowed to attend.
VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL CODE
Ezhov, in his brief, states, “I considered the verdict as incorrect and subject to being repealed for the following reasons: In violation of the demands of Statute 22 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR the court investigation was conducted solely one-sidedly, superficially and not objectively. During the court session only three persons who supported the version presented in the charge sheet were questioned (and) only the version of the prosecution.” In addition, Ezhov states, the explanation of Feldman, his proofs that he was innocent, and the testimony of the prosecution witnesses “who had been questioned during the preliminary investigation remained unchecked even though the testimony of the (witnesses) were of great importance for the decision of the question as to whether Feldman was guilty or not.”
Furthermore, Ezhov states, Valentina’s identity “was not clarified sufficiently at the court session” that “all attempts to clarify the identity of the victim (Valentina) were stopped at the court session” and the identify of the man for whom she had bought the cake and to whom she was supposed to be delivering it was not established.” Ezhov also notes that “Feldman’s explanations are not groundless, while the testimony of his opponents arouse doubts concerning their truthfulness.”
Commenting on the brief, Lowell declared that “as an attorney for more than 30 years I find this document, by an objective, non-biased source, to be a devastating analysis that exposes the spurious charges used by the Soviets to convict Feldman” who had sought for two years to emigrate to Israel.
Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference executive director, told the press conference, “Harassment of Jews seeking to leave, including imprisonment, beatings, forced unemployment, induction into the armed forces, and commitment to mental institutions, has intensified. Appeal after appeal was brought to us on behalf of friends and relatives who are being subjected to unconscionable suffering. The anti-Jewish campaign in the Soviet press has steadily increased during the past year, and particularly since the Yom Kippur War.”