NEW YORK (May. 14)
Twenty-three Jewish refusnik women were beaten by 200 Moscow police, four severely, after they staged a sit-in at the Supreme Soviet in the Kremlin on Friday to demand exit visas, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) and Union of Councils for Soviet Jews (UCSJ) have learned. On Thursday, the same women were forcibly removed from the ovir (emigration) office after holding a five-hour sit-in, and the previous day they had also demonstrated at the Supreme Soviet.
According to the SSSJ and UCSJ, the women came Friday wearing yellow Stars of David. When they refused to accede to the authorities’ demand to remove their stars, the police did so by force, beating them all. Severely beaten were Ludmilla Cherkasskaya, Gusel Chait, Batsheva Elitstratova and Natasha Chasina.
Also among the beaten were Maria Slepak, wife of the USSR’s leading refusnik Vladimir Slepak, and Natasha Katz, whose ill infant Jessica’s plight has gained international recognition in the past few days through the efforts of Action for Soviet Jewry in Boston. Congressmen and scientists have appealed to the Kremlin to release the baby to physicians from several leading American hospitals who have offered to treat her.