Mitterrand Urged to Help Secure the Release of Shcharansky

President Francois Mitterrand was asked yesterday for the support of France and his own personal influence to help secure the release of imprisoned Soviet Jewish activist Anatoly Shcharansky.

The appeal came from Soviet human rights leader Andrei Sakharov, a Nobel Laureate who is himself in exile in the closed town of Gorky. His message to Mitterrand, brought to France by Western news media correspondents, stressed that Shcharansky’s health has been seriously affected by the six months he spent in solitary confinement in Chistopol prison.

Shcharansky, 33, was sentenced in 1978 to 13 years imprisonment for alleged treason, espionage and anti-Soviet activity. He has since been confined to prisons and strict regime labor camps. Sakharov said in his letter to Mitterrand that the harsh treatment of Shcharansky was intended by the Soviet authorities to frighten other Jews seeking to emigrate. He described Shcharansky’s present condition as grave.

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