AMSTERDAM (May. 13)
An international tribunal convening here found the Soviet Union guilty of a grave miscarriage of justice in the imprisonment of Anatoly Shchararsky and called on it today to release the Jewish activist who was sentenced in 1977 to 13 years in join for alleged espionage and anti-Soviet activities.
The II member panel, composed of distinguished jurists, diplomats, political and civil rights leaders from many countries, reached its unanimous verdict after a two-day review of the evidence in the Shcharansky case. The tribunal was chaired by Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Its members included Coretta King, widow of Mortin Luther King Jr.; former U.S. Attorney General Romsay Clark; Rep. Robert Drinan (D. Mass.) a Jesuit priest active on behalf of Soviet Jewry; Morio Soares, former Premier of Portugal; Joban den Uyl, former Prime Minister of The Netherlands; and George Fernandes, former Minister of Transport and Industry in India.
McGill University law professor Irwin Cotler, legal counsel to Shcharansky, served as his representative before the tribunal. At the opening session, Shcharasky’s wife, Avital, made an impassioned appeal for the life of her husband and for all prisoners of conscience in the Soviet Union.
DISPUTES SOVIET VIEW OF TRIBUNAL
The official Soviet news agency Novosty charged that the tribunal was an anti-Soviet forum that was inciting to “cold war” and would cause a deterioration in relations between East and West Harry Vanden Bergh, a Labor member of the Dutch Parliament, told a press conference here last week that the charge was “nonsense.”
Van den Bergh said that he met twice with the Soviet Ambassador, Vassili Tolstikow, in his capacity as chairman of the “Friends of Analoty Shcharansky Committee,” to discuss human rights in general and the Shcharansky case in particular. He said Tolstikow rejected a request to send a Soviet representative to the tribunal and also refused to make available a copy of the sentence handed down on Shcharansky.
Van den Bergh said he considered the invectives by Novosty, which publishes news outside the Soviet Union, to be a sign that Moscow is sensitive on this issue. He said the tribunal was not organized as an anti-Soviet demonstration but to call attention to the violation of human rights in the USSR.