ALBANY, N.Y. (May. 24)
Rivka Drori, the sister of Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience losif Mendelevich, appealed to the New York State Legislature Monday to and in his release from Soviet imprisonment. Mrs. Drori, who now lives in Gush Etzion in Israel, addressed an Albany briefing and reception for the newly-formed New York Legislators Coalition for Soviet Jewry. Her brother was jailed together with Eduard Kuznetsay and Mark Dymshits in June 1970 in the first Leningrad trial, and is serving a 12-year sentence.
Because he is an observant Jew, she said, he has been subjected to harassment and sentenced to a “strict regime” imprisonment. He has not been allowed a visit by any family member for six years. Mrs. Drori, whose Hebrew comments were translated by Margy-Ruth Davis, executive director of the Greater New York Conterence on Soviet Jewry, stressed that she believed that this is a critical time for pressure regarding her brother’s case. Both Kuznetsov and Dymshits were released last month as part of an exchange for two Soviet spies held by the United States.
Attorney General Robert Abrams, who is a former chairman of the Greater New York Conference and currently co-chairman of the New York Committee of Conscience, which works on behalf of Soviet Jewish prisoners, told the group of legislators, “Your own intervention, by letter or telephone, can make a difference. Whether you get through to a refusnik or not, the KGB will know that you, a person of power and significance, made the effort. And when you’re successful, it’s a special thrill.” Last week, the Legislature adopted a resolution demanding the immediate release of Jewish POCs and reaffirming support for their basic human rights and freedoms. (By Rochelle Saidel Wolk)