WASHINGTON (Nov. 13)
Avital Shcharansky, wife of imprisoned Soviet Jewish activist Anatoly Shcharansky, will try to deliver a letter to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during his summit meeting with President Reagan in Geneva next week, appealing for the release of her husband.
Mrs. Shcharansky, who began a three-day vigil across from the Soviet Embassy here today to draw attention to her husband’s plight and that of other Soviet Jews, tried unsuccessfully to present her letter to the Embassy. She dropped it through the iron gate after a voice on the Embassy PA system rejected her request to submit it personally.
The letter addressed to Gorbachev said: “The release of Anatoly Shcharansky, Mr. Secretary General, would signal a new and human approach to the problem of the last remnant of Eastern European Jewry trapped within the borders of the Soviet Union. Anything less, Mr. Gorbachev, would be a betrayal of those basic human values on which all civilization is based.”
The Embassy vigil is part of an 11-day campaign that began with a sit-in in front of the Soviet Mission to the United Nations last Sunday and will end at the Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Geneva next week. Mrs. Shcharansky is one of the numerous Soviet Jewish activists who see the summit as a critical opportunity to press the case of refuseniks and Prisoners of Conscience. She is hoping for a White House meeting with Reagan before he leaves for the summit.