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Magarik, Family and Cello Land in Israel

February 26, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Alexei Magarik, the last official prisoner of Zion to be released from Soviet prison, arrived in Israel Wednesday night with his wife, Natasha, their son, Haim, and his cello.

The 29-year-old musicologist and cellist was arrested in March 1986 for teaching Hebrew since 1976 and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of drug trafficking.

The sentence was based on six grams of hashish that searchers said they had found in his apartment. Magarik claimed the searchers had planted the substance.

Speaking fluent Hebrew, Magarik told a welcoming reception: “When I was released from labor camp I was told I was the last prisoner of Zion, but in the terrible country that is the Soviet Union you can never tell how many people are still being held.” Magarik was released last September.

He said he hopes to join a musical ensemble, but the damage to his hands suffered in the labor camp may have made playing difficult.

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