NEW YORK (May. 16)
Three Moldavian Jewish refusniks arrested Jan. 5 in a Beltsy cafe for brawling with anti-Semitic thugs have received harsh prison sentences for their part in the melee, according to the National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ). The seven hooligans who provoked the incident were never arrested. Aleksandr Milner has been sentenced to six years in prison, while Arkady Feldman and Yankel Groberman each received four-year terms. Their trial was April 13. An unidentified non-Jew who came to their defense during the fight was arrested with them drew an even longer, although unknown sentence, the NCSJ reported.
The three men, all of whom had applied to emigrate to Israel, were celebrating Feldman’s receipt of his visa at the restaurant when seven youths began to insult and taunt them with such statements as “How long must we put up with you lousy Yids?” Eventually the Jews were provoked into defending themselves and were aided by the incensed Russian customer, the NCSJ said.
Groberman, who was released from custody prior to the April 13 trial and was to be a material witness, actually appeared as one of the accused. His parents, wife and children, and Milner’s father all live in Israel. Groberman’s exit application had been denied on the grounds that he holds state secrets as a result of his army service.