NEW YORK (Oct. 30)
Dr. Vladimir Magarik, the father of Jewish Prisoner of Conscience Aleksei Magarik, said in a press conference here Thursday that his son is being denied medical attention after he was brutally beaten in the Siberian labor camp where he is serving a three-year sentence on trumped-up charges of “drug possession.”
Dr. Magarik said that he spoke on the phone with his son’s wife, Natasha, in Moscow, who informed him that Aleksei has a severely cut lip as a result of the vicious beating he suffered when he refused to join the labor camp’s internal police.
“My son was beaten because I am a citizen of Israel and because he applied to leave for Israel. He is considered an ‘enemy of the state’ because his father has an Israeli passport,” Dr. Magarik said.
He pointed out, however, that his son, a 28-year-old cellist and a father of a baby boy, was transferred from the section for hardened criminals in the camp to a section of less dangerous prisoners.
The press conference was sponsored by the University Service Department of the American Zionist Youth Foundation and the Coalition to Free Soviet Jews.
The press conference also marked the conclusion of a two-month visit here by Dr. Magrik and his daughter Chana to publicize the plight of Aleksei, particularly among students and young people across the United States. The visit was sponsored by the University Service Department of the AZYF, the North American Jewish Students Network, and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry.
BICYCLE ‘FREEDOM RIDE FOR ALEKSEI’
During their visit, Dr. Magarik and his daughter undertook a bicycle “Freedom Ride for Aleksei.” “We traveled more than 1,000 miles on bicycles across the U. S. as well as tens of thousands of miles or more on planes and car,” Dr. Magarik said. He said that he and his daughter were very encouraged by the support they encountered by thousands of young Americans on behalf of the plight of Aleksei.
David Dinkins, the Manhattan Borough President, who also addressed the press conference, said that he sent cables to Aleksander Rekunkov, the Soviet Procurator-General, with copies to Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev as well as President Reagan demanding the release of Aleksei.
“I also hope to travel to the Soviet Union as soon as possible to meet with officials and personally plead the case of Aleksei Magarik and other refuseniks and Prisoners of Conscience,” Dinkins said. In the meantime, he added, “We demand that he (Aleksei) receive humane treatment in keeping with international accords. It is absolutely intolerable for a political prisoner to be beaten while in state custody and then be denied medical treatment for his injuries.”
Aleksei first applied for permission to go to Israel in 1981. His visa application has been repeatedly denied. His father and sister have been living in Israel since 1982.