NEW YORK (Jan. 16)
Guarded by a phalanx of police officers, the gates of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations swing shut today as Sylva Zalmanson, wife of Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience Edward Kuznetsov, sought to deliver an urgent appeal on behalf of her husband who is on the 25th day of a larger strike “to the death” in the Potma labor camp. Kuznetsov, sentenced to 15 years, is fasting for his release as well as those of his co-defendants from the 1970 Leningrad trial.
Accompanied by Harry S. Toubenfeld. chairman of the United Zionists-Revisionists of America which is sponsoring Mrs. Zalmanson’s U.S visit, and Lynn Singer, president of the Long Island Committee for Soviet Jewry (LICSJ), Mrs. Zalmanson went to the gates of the Soviet UN Mission where police officers told them they were under orders to bar their entry. Thinking quickly, Mrs. Zalmanson slipped her appeal under the gates, where it was taken by a Soviet official. The document urged Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev to effect “the immediate release of my husband and his Leningrad trial co-defendants to rejoin their families.”
Before Mrs. Zalmanson arrived in the U.S. last Friday from Israel she had demonstrated for several days at the Western Wall and met with Israeli Premier Menachem Begin, according to the UZ-R.
Earlier today, at a press conference at the Minskoff Cultural Center, where Mrs. Zalmanson detailed the plight of her husband as well as her own, Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY) characterized Kuznetsov and his fellow prisoners as “the pioneers of emigration to Israel, whom I hope we will not abandon. Their fight for freedom is still going an in the labor camps.”
PRESSURE MUST BE CONTINUED
Mrs. Zalmanson declared that her husband was being force-fed as he fasted, “a painful and damaging procedure. I wonder if I will ever see Edward again. Massive, widespread and continued support freed me from the labor camps. This pressure must be continued until Soviet authorities come to realize that it is not worth their while to keep my husband and his friends in prison.”
Bronx Borough President Robert Abrams also spoke, and a strong message of support from New York Governor Hugh Carey was read. The press conference was held in cooperation with the LICSJ, Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry, Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, International League for Repatriation of Russian Jews, Al Tidom and the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry.
Later today, Mrs. Zalmanson met with Ed-ward Mezvinsky, the U.S, representative to the UN Human Rights Committee, and then embarked an a UZ-R sponsored cross-country speaking four.