NEW YORK (Jan. 2)
A Soviet refusnik physicist is facing criminal prosecution as a result of his scientific activity, according to an appeal addressed to the Committee of Concerned Scientists by a group of dissident Soviet scientists. The Committee cochairman Prof. Peter Pershan, a Harvard physicist, denounced the persecution of Dr. Vladimir Kislik and echoed the words of the appeal, saying, “The defense of Kislik is the defense of scientific freedom.” Kislik applied for permission in 1973 to emigrate to Israel.
Kislik, an authority in the field of radiation physics, has been told by Soviet secret police that he is liable for prosecution because he sent an article to the U.S. for publication in a scientific journal. This, despite the fact that, according to the appeal, the article in question had been cleared for publication by Soviet scientific authorities several years ago. The police also plan to use his “personal opinions about emigration policy,” the appeal noted.
Calling the actions taken against Kislik “very disturbing,” Pershan stated that they directly violate the Helsinki Final Act, which urges that Eastern and Western scientists increase the number of scientific articles published in each other’s journals. “It is unconscionable,” he said, “that the USSR, which claims to be committed to the advancement of science, seeks to prevent scientists like Dr. Kislik from continuing their work and in fact persecutes them for it.”
According to the appeal which was signed by such distinguished Soviet scientists as academician Benjamin Levich, Prof. Alexander Lerner and Dr. Viktor Brailovsky, Kislik has been continuously refused permission to emigrate since 1973. His family was, however, permitted to leave the USSR for Israel that year.
As a result of applying for an exit visa, Kislik was dismissed from his research past and deprived of the possibility of continuing his research officially. Together with other refusnik scientists Kislik attempted to organize an unofficial weekly scientific seminar, but it was suppressed by the authorities. In recent months harassment of Kislik has increased. The Committee of Concerned Scientists joined the authors of the appeal in calling on the American scientific community to speak out in defense of Kislik.