WASHINGTON (Sep. 28)
Avital Shcharansky, the wife of Anatoly Shcharansky, said that she has received information from Moscow that her husband, who has been held in a KGB jail since last March, is in poor health, according to the Union of Councils of Soviet Jews. Mrs. Shcharansky, in a telephone call from Israel, urged people to ask for an investigation into her husband’s health, the Council reported.
Rep. Robert Drinan. (D.Mass.), chairman of the International Committee for the Release of Anatoly Shcharansky, is asking that the International Red Cross and other international organizations investigate the conditions under which Shcharansky, a leading Moscow Jewish activist, is being held, according to the Council.
70 PEOPLE QUESTIONED
Meanwhile, a report from the Soviet Union said that more than 70 people in 14 cities were questioned by the KGB in connection with the Shcharansky case. “The six months that Anatoly Shcharansky has been kept under arrest are enough to realize that the investigation is a campaign launched against activists of the Jewish emigration movement itself,” 32 Moscow activists charged in a statement to Western reporters yesterday. The statement said that Shcharansky’s arrest had been accompanied by a press and television campaign seeking to portray Jewish activists as foreign intelligence agents.
Shcharansky has been accused of working for the CIA and is reported to be facing a charge of treason which carries the death penalty in the USSR. The statement by the Moscow activists said that when the persons questioned by the KGB said they did not know Shcharansky they were questioned about their own activities. The statement said the pattern of questioning showed that the authorities still plan to put Shcharansky on trial.
In another report from Moscow today it was learned that six Jewish activists who planned to travel to Kiev for an unofficial memorial ceremony tomorrow at Babi Yar, the site of a Nazi massacre of Jews during World War II, were prevented from leaving their homes by the police. Jews from several Soviet cities plan to attend the ceremony although Jews in Kiev have been told by the city’s authorities that the memorial ceremony for the 100,000 murdered Jews will not be allowed.
REFUSNIK TO BE TRIED
In a related development, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews reported that Dr. Ernest Axelrod of Moscow, a 40-year-old psychiatrist was arrested on Yom Kippur and told by Soviet authorities that he will be tried within a month for “parasitism.”
Axelrod was detained when he arrived home last Wednesday evening after attending services at the Moscow synagogue and released two days later, the two Soviet Jewry groups said. He was forced to sign a statement that he would not leave Moscow until his trial. Axelrod was dismissed from his job in 1974, the day he applied for an exit visa, according to the two groups.