NEW YORK (Jun. 29)
The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry confirmed today reports from Moscow that Jewish activist losif Begun has been sentenced to three years’ internal exile for allegedly “violating the internal passport regulations.” His trial, conducted yesterday, was marked by harassment of Western newsmen outside the courthouse, it was reported by the SSSJ and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry. The sentence was not immediately disclosed in Moscow after it was pronounced.
The charges were brought against Begun because the 46-year-old electrical engineer defied a bon on his return to his Moscow home several months ago after he served a one-year term of exile for “parasitism” near the Chinese frontier. Begun was re-arrested on May 17. He is the third prominent Jewish activist sentenced to internal exile in the past two weeks. Last week, sentences of five and four years respectively were imposed by Moscow courts on Vladimir Slepak and Ida Nudel.
The National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported that Begun’s wife, Alla Drugova Begun, told reporters outside the Moscow court that her husband was so weakened after a 40-day hunger strike that he could barely stand in the courtroom or freely express himself.