NEW YORK (Oct. 23)
Soviet authorities have apparently disregarded their criminal code by adding new restraints to the terms of a Prisoner of Conscience exiled to Siberia, according to information received by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry.
Iosif Begun, arrested in May for violating internal passport laws, was exiled for three years to the infamous Magadan region of Siberia. Begun had recently started to seek work as a professional engineer in Susman, a town well within the allowable limit of 100 kilometers from his place of exile. Police have now forced him to return to his exiled location and have given no reason for the action.
An engineer with a doctorate in science, Begun had been offered only employment as a high voltage engineer, a dangerous job for which he has no training. Prior to his arrest in May, Begun served a two-year sentence in Magadan for “parasitism.” Bowing to world concern over his well being, the Soviet Jewish activist has ended a hunger strike he began Oct. 3. In the spring of 1977 he spent more than 100 days on a hunger strike.
The National Conference also reported that Vladimir Slepak, who has waited longer than any other soviet Jew to receive an emigration permit, has just been set to work as an oven stoker in the Chita region of Siberia. He was recently given a five-year sentence for “hooliganism.” The former head of a television laboratory, Slepak first applied for permission to emigrate in 1969. His arrest and conviction on the “hooliganism” charges are believed to stem from his prominence as a Moscow activist. Slepak’s wife, Maria, has recently joined him in Siberia.