20 Soviet Jews Under House Arrest

Jewish activists in Moscow are being prevented from demonstrating against their not being allowed to emigrate to Israel while the Supreme Soviet is in session to debate a new constitution for the Soviet Union, according to reports reaching here.

Vladimir Slepak, a leading Jewish activist, told Western newsmen that uniformed and plainclothes policemen have been stationed outside the homes of at least 20 Jews to keep them from going to the Kremlin where the Supreme Soviet is meeting. Slepak said four Jews were able to get near the meeting hall but were arrested.

Ironically, this occurred as the Soviet Union and 34 other countries are in Belgrade to assess the Helsinki Agreement which was signed in 1975. Criticism of the Soviet Union’s failure to comply with the human rights provisions of the agreement are expected to be a major focus of the Belgrade meeting. Slepak is active in a small group formed to monitor the Soviet Union’s compliance with the Helsinki Agreement. Three of the group’s leaders, including Anatoly Shcharansky, have been under arrest since last spring.

Meanwhile, Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov has sent a telegram to the Belgrade conference complaining of the house arrest of the Moscow Jews. “We ask you to turn your attention to this clear violation of elementary freedom, “he said in a telegram.

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