VIENNA (Mar. 22)
A small group of Soviet emigrants living in Vienna praised Austria for its hospitality and denounced as “slanderous” a petition of the heads of 87 Soviet Jewish families who want to return to the Soviet Union. “Austria grants asylum to everybody who is persecuted for political, religious, social or ethnic reason,” the emigrants said in an open letter published in the daily newspaper of the ruling Social Democratic Party.
The petition of the Soviet Jewish “re-emigrants,” who want to return to the USSR, was submitted last month to UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim asking him to send a human rights commission to Austria to conduct on-the-spot investigation of their plight.
Referring to this petition, the emigrants said: “Austria, as a free country, is always open for such commissions, whereas the Soviet Union will always refuse to admit commissions that want to investigate the political rights of the Soviet citizens, the fulfillment of the Helsinki agreement, and the plight of the political prisoners in jails, camps and psychiatric clinics.” However, they conceded that most of the “re-emigrants” have families in the USSR and want to be reunited with them.