PARIS (Jun. 6)
A delegation of prominent Western scientists intervened here Monday on behalf of Jewish scientists in the Soviet Union long denied exit visas because they allegedly possess security sensitive knowledge.
They were promised that inquiries would be made.
The 11-member delegation, led by the Swedish physicist Inga Fischer-Hjalmars, met with Ambassador Yuri Kashlev, chief of the Soviet delegation to the 35-nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe — also known as the Helsinki Conference.
It was Kashlev himself who said at the opening session of the human rights conference that exit visas would not be denied to any Soviet citizen who had not engaged in sensitive defense work for more than five years.
“This period would be the absolute limit for refusing visas,” he promised.
But the scientists, representing five Western European countries, told him of the case of biologist Vladimir Katz, who has been denied an exit visa for 16 years because he worked briefly in 1965 at a research institute connected with the Ministry for Radio Production.
Katz is on a list of 10 Soviet Jewish scientists prevented from leaving for Israel, a list the Western group gave the Soviet diplomat.
Another refusenik, zoologist Igor Uspensky of Moscow, has been denied a visa for 10 years because his mother, a plant biologist, once worked on the pathology of vegetables.
Fischer-Hjalmars said the other eight all have been refused visas for up to 14 years.
The Western group, members of the International Federation of Scientists for the Defense of Soviet Jews, also handed Kashlev a list of 11 Jews detained at psychiatric hospitals in the Soviet Union on various pretexts.
One of them is Luba Stein, who tried to leave the Soviet Union by way of Czechoslovakia in 1971 and has been confined to a psychiatric institution since 1974.
The Soviet delegation reportedly promised to transmit the lists to the appropriate ministries in Moscow and ask for clarification.
They said they hoped to have a reply within two weeks.