NEW YORK (Mar. 29)
Zakhar Zunshain, a Riga activist, has been charged with “defaming the Soviet State” under the Latvian Criminal Code, the National Conference on Soviet Jewry reported today. If convicted, he faces up to three years in a labor camp. According to the Conference, the 33-year-old physicist is being held incommunicado.
Zunshain was arrested last December in Riga after attempting to demonstrate in front of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow with three other Riga refuseniks, including his wife Tatyana, Aleksandr Umansky, and Leonid Balter. The latter two are among 20 activists who recently signed a petition to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet asking that they be allowed to emigrate to Israel.
The Zunshains, who had protested in a July 1983 petititon to the Presidiun of the Supreme Soviet against the refusal of the authorities to allow them to emigrate to Israel, have been waiting since 1980 to do so.