20 Nobel Laureates Cable Protest to U.S.S.R. on Brailovsky Sentencing
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20 Nobel Laureates Cable Protest to U.S.S.R. on Brailovsky Sentencing

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Twenty Nobel laureates cabled Soviet authorities to protest the “sentencing of an innocent man,” computer scientist Viktor Brailovsky, to five years of internal exile. They deplored this “miscarriage of justice” and urged Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and the president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, A.P. Aleksandrov, to “secure his release and permit his emigration.”

Pointing to Brailovsky’s dedication to science, the Nobelists stated in their cable, “… we salute his determination in the face of overwhelming obstacles.”

The signers include Philip Anderson, Christian Anfinsen, Julius Axelrod, Felix Bloch, Walter Houser Brattain, Herbert Brown, Owen Chamberlain, Val Fitch, Paul Flory, Sheldon Glashow, Gerhard Herzberg, Robert Holley, Arthur Kornberg, Polykarp Kisch. Daniel Nathans, Arno Penzias, Frederick Chapman Robbins, Howard Temin, George Wald, and Rosalyn Yalow.

Brailovsky was charged with circulating “fabrications known to be false which defame the Soviet state” in connection with his efforts in support of the emigration movement. But the laureates’ message affirmed that “Since the right to emigrate has been endorsed by the Soviet Union in the Helsinki Final Act, Brailovsky’s activities cannot be construed as defamatory to the Soviet state.”

Mindful of the fact that the sentence will be appealed, the Nobelists indicated their hope that their intervention will result in a shortening of the sentence or a reversal of the verdict, paving the way for Brailovsky’s emigration.

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