NEW YORK (May. 18)
Soviet dissident Yuri Orlov, a leader of a Helsinki human rights monitoring committee, was sentenced today to seven years hard labor followed by five years of exile from Moscow, according to reports reaching here from the Soviet Union. Orlov’s trial, which began Monday, had been marked by anti-Semitic remarks and incidents between Soviet policemen and Western newsmen and supporters of Orlov outside the courtroom.
After Tuesday’s court proceedings, during which 15 witnesses for the prosecution testified, Orlov’s wife, Irina, and his two sons by a previous marriage who were allowed to attend, tried to talk to reporters and dissidents outside the courtroom. But the police refused to let them talk and ordered them to move on.
As the small crowd of reporters and dissidents evolved into a walking news conference following Orlov’s wife, his sons and the policemen, a clash erupted after a policeman seized a tape recorder microphone from one of the reporters. Dissidents were then pushed and several people in the crowd that gathered shouted insults at the dissidents. One woman shouted at a dissident, “You have a kike’s snout.”
Earlier in the day, two British reporters, Richard Beetson of the Daily Telegraph and Oliver Waites of Reuters, were a target of anti-Semitic remarks in the area near the courtroom. “Zionist, Zionist,” four men shouted at the reporters. One of the men said: “Jews, we will shoot you.”
Meanwhile, it was reported that trials of other members of Helsinki monitoring committees were being held in other sections of the country. Prior to Orlov’s sentencing today, Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov and his wife, Yelena, and five other dissidents were seized by police after they tried to force their way into the courtroom. Sakharov and his wife reportedly hit a policeman during the melee. They were later released but said two of the five young men were given 15-day sentences for “hooliganism” and third was fined.