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Spetter Appeal: Amnesty Reports Failure of a Mission

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Amnesty International reported this weekend on its unsuccessful attempts to intercede with the Bulgarian authorities on behalf of Dr. Heinrich Spetter, the Jewish economist sentenced to death on a charge of espionage.

Amnesty International had asked a Viennese lawyer to represent it at Dr. Spetter’s appeal on Aug. 5 at the Sofia high court. The lawyer was allowed into Bulgaria and given permission to enter the courtroom just before the appeal was due to be heard. However, as Dr. Spetter was escorted in, the judges ordered that the courtroom be cleared. Amnesty’s representative then asked for a meeting with Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General. The meeting took place but the prosecutor proved evasive and would not undertake or disclose anything.

The lawyer then telephoned Dr. Spetter’s mother, who agreed to see him. A meeting was arranged but Mrs. Spetter failed to turn up. When the lawyer tried to reach her again, he had only time to give his name before the line went dead. He took a taxi to Mrs. Spetter’s home but the house was guarded by police and he was not allowed in.

Amnesty’s representative returned to Vienna empty-handed and reported to the London-based organization on the failure of his mission. The outcome of the appeal is not yet known but the behavior of the Bulgarian authorities towards Amnesty has increased apprehensions.

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