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British Foreign Office Intervenes on Behalf of Anatoly Shcharansky

The British Foreign Office took a virtually unprecedented step in summoning the Soviet Ambassador to discuss the plight of imprisoned Jewish dissident Anatoly Shcharansky. Foreign Secretary Francis Pym told Ambassador Viktor Popov that Shcharansky should be released immediately, and expressed concern about the effect of his hunger strike and forcible feeding.

The British appeal was timed to coincide with yesterday’s reopening in Madrid of the two-year old European Conference on Cooperation and Security. Shcharansky is believed here to be in poor health and weak as a result of his ordeal.

Two weeks ago. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher granted an interview to Shcharansky’s wife, Avital, and publicly supported her single-handed campaign for his release, Pym raised the Shcharansky case with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko at the United Nations last September.

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