Roitburd Given 2 Year Jail Term
Menu JTA Search

Roitburd Given 2 Year Jail Term

Download PDF for this date

Lev Roitburd, a 39-year-old Jewish engineer and “refusnik” from Odessa, was sentenced today to two years imprisonment on charges of “resisting arrest.” This was confirmed today here by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry and the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive director of NYCSJ, called the sentence which was handed down after a two-day trial, “a travesty of justice,” and described it as an “outrageous act.” He added that the trial and sentence “is a classic example of the Soviet Union’s total contempt for the principles of detente.”

Roitburd was detained in Odessa July 2 while on his way to meet American Senators in Moscow. He had been seeking permission for three years to emigrate to Israel. The prosecution alleged that Roitburd punched a police officer in the chest after refusing to submit to a search–a charge carrying between one and five years’ imprisonment. Roitburd denied the charges. He said he had been manhandled by agents of the KGB who had threatened to get even with him.


At the same time, the SSSJ reported that inmates of the Soviet Union’s most notorious prison “Vladmir,” recently staged a work stoppage and earlier threatened a hunger strike if a seriously ill Jewish prisoner were not treated. More than 14 “Vladmir” inmates, including Jewish prisoners Yuri Vudka, Yosef Mishner, Yakov Suslensky and Vladimir Bukovsky refused to work until they would be considered political prisoners of the Soviet system. Prison officials broke the revolt, sentencing Vudka and Suslensky to a special punishment cell, the SSSJ reported.

Last month, Suslensky had also been put in the cell for protesting food conditions in the prison. After a week’s hunger strike he fell unconscious of heart pains. Not until the whole prison threatened a mass hunger strike was Suslensky treated by the prison doctors.

Meanwhile, the trial of Anatoly Malkin is scheduled to begin today. The 21-year-old Kiev activist, who has sought to emigrate to Israel, is charged with “draft evasion.” He faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund