Former Iata Official Deplores Favorable Publicity for Sylva Zalmanson
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Former Iata Official Deplores Favorable Publicity for Sylva Zalmanson

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Sir William P. Hildred, former-director-general-of-the-International Air Transport Association (IATA) protested in a letter published in The Times today against favorable publicity accorded Sylva Zalmanson Kuznetsov one of the defendants in the Dec. 1970 Leningrad hijack trials, now serving a ten-year prison sentence at a Soviet forced labor camp.

“Whatever else she may have done (Zalmanson) tried to hijack an aircraft and fly to New York,” Sir William wrote. “She did not succeed. No corpses can be laid to her charge…(yet) for some incomprehensible reason, the evil doer comes in for favorable publicity and the victims of crime are forgotten,” his letter said. He referred to a news photo in the March 29 edition of The Times that showed actress Ingrid Bergman eating a Russian labor camp meal to protest Mrs. Zalmanson Kuznetsov’s imprisonment.

Mrs. Zalmanson Kuznetsov was one of 18 Jews tried in Leningrad in Dec. 1970 and May 1971 in connection with an alleged attempt by Jews to hijack a Soviet airliner in Leningrad and fly to Israel. Sir William wrote, “After years of hijacking incidents, with governments and airlines straining every nerve to ensure that the hijacker finds no haven, it seems inconceivable that our leading paper should give publicity to one of those who attempted this most dastardly and cruel of crimes, however motivated.”

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