NEW YORK (May. 14)
The death sentence handed down against Andrel Asher, a 63-year-old Rumanian Jew, has been commuted to 20 years imprisonment, it was confirmed by several sources here today. Asher, a resident of Bucharest and a chemist by profession, was sentenced to death on April 30 after conviction for alleged economic crimes involving acceptance of a bribe.
Jacob Birnbaum, national director of the Center for Russian Jewry with the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, reported the commutation. It was confirmed by Dr. Charles H, Kramer, president of the Rumanian Jewish Federation of America, Birnbaum said he was given word of the commutation by Ion Datou, the Rumanian Ambassador to the United Nations following an earlier meeting he had with the Rumanian Ambassador to Washington, Cornelius Bogdan, Birnbaum said that “Hopefully, in view of his (Asher’s) age and state of health they will let him out earlier,”
Efforts to save Asher’s life were made by Dr, Kramer’s organization this week, Six Orthodox rabbis signed an appeal to Rumanian President Nicolas Ceausescu to grant clemency to Asher and reverse the death sentence. The same group signed messages to President Ford, Secretary of State Henry A, Kissinger and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim to intervene to save Asher’s life.