WASHINGTON (Jul. 16)
With only one vote in apposition, the Senate adopted a bipartisan resolution urging the Nobel Peace Prize for 1978 to be awarded to the Helsinki Act monitors in the Soviet Union. Ninety Senators voted last Thursday for the resolution authored by Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D.Wash.). The lone opponent was Sen. James Abourezk (D.SD). He cast his negative vote with out comment. Later his office told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he would have no explanation for it. The resolution, backed by the leadership of both major parties, urges the honor for dissidents of all faiths and nations in the Soviet Union upholding the Helsinki act, Jackson said. He has identified 58 dissidents as deserving the award, including Anatoly Shcharansky, Alexander Ginzburg and Vladimir Slepak.
“In persecuting the Helsinki monitors, including Ginzburg and Shcharansky,” Jackson said, “the Soviets have violated both international law and their own laws by conducting improper searches, prolonged pre-trial detentions and a denial of procedural rights to defendants on trial.
“These brave men and women have placed their freedom at risk because they believe individual rights and free information are directly related to peace among nations.”
‘HAPPY TO BE A WITNESS TO THE…LIBERATION OF JEWS OF THE USSR’
The following are the closing words of Anatoly Shcharansky before he was sentenced. It is based on notes taken by his brother, Leonid, who attended the trial.
In March and April [this year] during questioning, those who were conducting the investigation warned that with the position I had taken during the investigation, and which I am following here in court, I face a firing squad, or at least, 15 years in prison.
If I agreed to cooperate with the investigation with the aim to liquidate the Jewish emigration movement, I was promised quick release and reunion with my wife [who lives in Israel]. Now, as never before, I am far from this dream.
It seems I should be sorry about that, but it is not so at all. I’m happy. I’m happy that I lived honestly and in peace with my conscience, and never lied even when I was threatened with death. I am happy to have helped people. I’m proud that I made acquaintance and worked together with honest and brave people such as [Andrei] Sakharov, [Yuri] Orlov, [Alexander] Ginzburg, followers of traditions of the Russian intelligentsia.
I’m happy to be a witness to the process of liberation of Jews of the U.S.S.R. I hope that those absurd charges against me, and in addition, against the whole of the Jewish emigration movement, will not prevent my people from liberation. My friends and relations in the emigration movement know how I wanted to exchange activity in the emigration movement for a life with my wife, Avital, in Israel.
For more than 2,000 years the Jewish people, my people, have been dispersed. But wherever they are, wherever Jews are found, every year they have repeated, “Next year in Jerusalem,” Now, when I am further than ever from my people, from Avital, facing many arduous years of imprisonment, I say, turning to my people, my Avital: Next year in Jerusalem.
Now I turn to you, the court, who were required to confirm a pre-determined sentence: to you I have nothing to say.