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Beatings of Soviet Jews Denounced

The National Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry today angrily denounced the beatings of 12 Jewish activists by Soviet police, agents after a sit-in at an administrative building of the Supreme Soviet to protest the denial of exit visas. The beatings took place in a wood 35 miles from Moscow. One of the activists, 30-year-old sports coach Zachar Tesker, suffered a broken nose.

The NCSJ has sent telegrams to President Ford and to Democratic Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter urging them to make note of “this cruel and senseless act” during their third televised debate this Friday.

According to reports from Moscow, a dozen Jews, led by veteran “refusenik” Vladimir Slepak, were herded into a police bus after the sit-in and taken to the woods. There they were chased by the police agents and beaten to the accompaniment of such epithets as “dirty kike.” Tesker was quoted by the NCSJ as saying “They were beating us very professionally.” In addition to Tesker and Slepak those assaulted included other long term “refuseniks” Arkady Polishchuk and Leonid Shabashov.

“This brutal and senseless action reportedly by members of the Soviet secret police…on unarmed Jews…shows the depths to which the Soviet authorities have dropped to suppress Jewish activists in the USSR whose only wish is to emigrate.” NCSJ chairman Eugene Gold said. He added that the beatings were “obviously permitted by Soviet authorities.” The SSSJ said that the beatings have shown the Kremlin’s “contempt at the White House weakness on the Soviet Jewry issue” by its continuing defense of “quiet diplomacy.”

Meanwhile, according to reports from Moscow today, Interior Minister Nikolai Shcholokov promised to meet tomorrow with the victims of the assault. The group submitted a statement protesting their treatment and demanding an explanation of why they have been denied visas.

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