Goldfarb Allowed to Leave the USSR
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Goldfarb Allowed to Leave the USSR

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Long-time refusenik David Goldfarb was released Thursday from a Moscow hospital and flown to the United States on industrialist Armand Hammer’s private plane, accompanied by his wife Cecilia. He landed at 6:30 p.m. at the Newark Airport Thursday and was met there by his son Alexander Goldfarb, a Columbia professor who has been pleading his father’s case since David Goldfarb was refused an exit visa in 1979.

David Goldfarb is a retired geneticist who suffers from severe complications of diabetes, including the possibility of amputation of his leg. David Goldfarb lost his other leg as a Soviet soldier during World War II.

David Goldfarb was expected to be given a medical examination on board the plane by Dr. Kenneth Prager, a physician at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, who has taken a personal interest in the case and who had been denied a request to attend to Prof. Goldfarb in his Moscow hospital.

David Goldfarb’s exit visa was rescinded in 1984, shortly after he finally received it, when he refused to help the KGB frame American reporter Nicholas Daniloff. Daniloff, the Moscow correspondent for U.S. News and World Report, was released September 30 from the Soviet Union following a month’s detention in Lefortovo Prison and then in U.S. Embassy custody following his arrest August 30 after accepting an envelope from a friend that the KGB claimed contained secret materials.


David Goldfarb’s release was confirmed by State Department spokesman Pete Martinez, who said, “We welcome the resolution of this case.” Martinez said the U.S. had followed the Goldfarb case closely for a number of years.

He had no information to link Goldfarb’s release with last week’s summit meeting in Iceland, where there were reported discussions on human rights between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Alexander Goldfarb returned Monday from Iceland, after also speaking with Yuri Dubinin, Soviet Ambassador to the U.S., who was seated near him on the plane.

Hammer reportedly also took special interest in the case. He was in Moscow last month following a visit to Israel. There were no public disclosures of Hammer’s specific talks.

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