WASHINGTON (Jun. 14)
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, now a member of the Knesset, has sent messages to President Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale and to members of both Houses of Congress urging their intervention on behalf of Soviet Jewish activist Vladimir Slepak who has been jailed, the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews reported today.
Eban "adopted" the Slepak case after a meeting in Jerusalem with hisson, Alexander Slepak. Slepak and his wife, Maria, were arrested on June 2 after hanging a sign from the balcony of their Moscow flat which read "Let Us Go To Our Son In Israel." They were charged with "malicious hooliganism," an offense that carries a penalty of 1-5 years in prison. Mrs. Slepak was released for medical reasons but her husband remains under detention.
Eban’s message said: "Vladimir Slepak, a leading Soviet Jewish activist, who has courageously fought to emigrate to Israel for the past eight years, has been arrested and faces trial in Moscow as a result of his activity on behalf of human freedom. This totally refutes Soviet pretensions on detente and the Helsinki agreement. I hope that you will raise your voice on his behalf, since his personal fate embraces the basic principle of human freedom and international solidarity."
Meanwhile, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry today appealed to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance urging intervention for the Slepaks and other refusniks arrested or facing trial. "I urge you to now make representation with the Soviet government and to enlist the aid of other friendly governments," NCSJ chairman Eugene Gold said. "Trials for Nudel, Slepak and (Anatoly) Shcharansky will only cause additional tension."