Doctors Urge Release of Refusenik Cancer Patients
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Doctors Urge Release of Refusenik Cancer Patients

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One-hundred and-one cancer specialists have signed letters to President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urging that five refuseniks, dying of cancer, be given permission to leave the Soviet Union to secure treatment and join their families in the West.

According to the World Jewish Congress, the letters were made public at a press conference here last week and were a follow-up to a June 12 Moscow news conference where three of the Jewish refuseniks publicized their plight.

“Medicine should Know no border,” said Dr. Norman Sterns of Tufts University in releasing the letters. The scientists stressed that they were “making a humanitarian plea” and not a political statement. “Every cancer patient needs family support in their personal struggle,” added Dr. Robert Schwartz, chief of the hematology department at the New England Medical Center.


In their letter to Gorbachev, the doctors stressed that “permitting reunification of these families will be a humanitarian action which will be greatly appreciated by all peace-loving people.”

Addressing Reagan, they wrote: “Surely, given your experience with this horrible disease, you must know the importance of being close to your family to face that challenge.”

The doctors were joined at the press conference by relatives of a number of the patients, including Khanna Ambinder, whose daughter Rimma Bravve, 31, is dying of ovarian cancer. The other cancer victims awaiting permission to emigrate are: Benjamin Charny, Tatyana Bogomolny, Leah Maryasin and Inna Meiman.

The doctors group said that similar news conferences were being scheduled in similar news conferences were being scheduled in September in Washington and Ottawa, with other sessions later this year in major cities abroad and throughout the United States.

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