Menu JTA Search

Rubin Faces Treason Charge Science Groups Protest Forced Closing of Seminar in Moscow

Two groups of American scientists have issued a statement deploring “the destruction by Soviet authorities of the unofficial scientific seminar” which was to have begun yesterday in the Moscow apartment of Prof. Alexander Voronel. The statement, issued by the executive board of the Committee of Concerned Scientists and the International Board of Sponsors and Advisors of the International Seminar, protested against “the harassment and imprisonment of many of the seminar’s organizers” including Voronel.

“We protest the Soviet government’s refusal to permit these scientists neither to exercise their internationally-recognized right to emigrate, nor to function as scientists within the Soviet Union,” the statement declared. “We are convinced that these repressive actions by the Soviet government against leading scientists wishing to emigrate and other outspoken scientists, violate fundamental scientific and human principles and endanger the implementation of bi-national cooperative scientific agreements.”

At the same time, it was reported here today that Vitaly Rubin, a leading sinologist and one of the organizers of the aborted seminar, is being charged with treason. The Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry, in reporting the charge, said that the maximum sentence for that offense, under Soviet law, is death.

Scientists from the two organizations, including 10 Nobel Laureates, cabled President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in Moscow last week warning of the threat to the fulfillment of cooperative scientific agreements between the U.S. and the USSR caused by the Soviet Union’s continuing violation of basic principles of international scientific cooperation. “The establishment of and participation in bi-national scientific cooperation and exchange programs must be conditioned on the right of scientists to freely communicate and travel for scholarly purposes, to function as scientists inside their countries, and if not so permitted, to emigrate without harassment,” the cable warned.

Rubin had been rebuffed repeatedly in his efforts to emigrate to Israel, Soviet authorities reportedly saying they did not want a man with Rubin’s expertise on China to go to the West. Rubin was arrested last Thursday after repeated warnings he would be charged with treason if he went ahead with his plans to participate in the seminar. The New York Conference said it had appealed to President Nixon and Soviet leaders on Rubin’s behalf.

NEXT STORY