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European Parliament Calls on the Soviet Union to Release Shcharansky

The European Parliament has called on the Soviet Union to release Jewish activist Anatoly Shcharansky and permit him to rejoin his family in Israel. The Parliament also voted a “recommendation” asking the nine member state Council of Ministers to raise the issue in the course of diplomatic contacts with Moscow. The European Parliament’s recommendations are, however, purely advisory and have no binding effect on the member states’ governments.

The resolution was submitted by Strasbourg Mayor Pierre Pfimlin who met earlier this week with Shcharansky’s wife, Avital. Shcharansky, Pfimlin said, has been unjustly sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for “having fought for human rights in the Soviet Union and for Jewish right to emigrate.” The Communist group in the Parliament opposed the resolution, saying the Parliament “should start by investigating human rights in Western Europe and not set itself up as a permanent tribunal on this matter.”

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