Kunstler Seeking to Go to USSR to Help Gavriel Shapiro to Get out
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Kunstler Seeking to Go to USSR to Help Gavriel Shapiro to Get out

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William M. Kunstler, the lawyer who defended the Chicago Seven and is identified with left-wing causes, announced today that he was seeking to travel to the Soviet Union to help Judy Shapiro in her effort to get her husband, Gavriel, out of that country.

Speaking at a news conference in his New York office, Kunstler said, "I hope the influence I have in the Soviet Union will be brought to bear in this case." He said he plans to accompany Mrs. Shapiro to Moscow late October to attend her civil marriage ceremony to Gavriel and to help get him out.

Kunstler said he was taking up Mrs. Shapiro’s cause because of its "humane appeal" and because he is against travel restrictions. Professing great admiration for socialist countries and left-wing tendencies, the lawyer said he had no specific contacts in the Soviet Union but expressed hope that the authorities "will listen to me." He added, however, that he did not plan to take up the cause of Soviet Jewry in general. "Even though I’m Jewish, I’m not a professional Jew and I don’t intend to spend time in that vein," he said.


Kunstler, who met Judy on a New York-California flight in early August, has sent a letter to Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin asking him for permission to accompany Judy to Moscow. The letter, dated August 15, has not yet been answered. Neither has he received an affirmative reply for a visa application.

Released on his own cognizance pending trial in Chicago for charges against him as defense attorney in the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial, Kunstler was granted permission to travel to the Soviet Union by the US Court of Appeals.

"I hope that the Soviet Union will look favorably on Mr. Kunstler," said Mrs. Shapiro at the conference, "because he is on the right side." She said she was planning to send a telegram tonight to Angela Davis, presently in Moscow, asking her "as one woman to another" to assist her in freeing "my husband, who is a political prisoner."

A threatened teachers strike in Israel was averted today when the teachers’ union agreed to a proposal by Deputy Premier and Education Minister Yigal Allon to set up a special committee to deal with their major outstanding grievance– overcrowded classrooms. Removal of the strike threat assured that Israeli primary and secondary schools would open on schedule tomorrow for the fall term.

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