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Mrs. Shcharansky to Meet with Vance

July 12, 1978
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Avital Shcharansky, wife of Anatoly Shcharansky, will meet with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in Geneva Thursday, it was announced in New York today by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry. Mrs. Shcharansky is due to arrive in that city tomorrow where she will participate in a religious protest against the trials in the Soviet Union. The protest will be held in the main synagogue.

Meanwhile, the NCSJ reported that the second day of the trial of Shcharansky was conducted under a tight veil of secrecy. Virtually no news emerged from the Moscow courtroom where Shcharansky yesterday pleaded innocent to the charges of treason brought against him. Shcharansky’s brother, Leonid, and selected representatives of the public were admitted to the court for the opening of the proceedings yesterday. Today, however, everyone was barred.

Leonid described his brother in “good spirits” as he conducted his own defense. Shcharansky dismissed his court-appointed defense lawyer on the first day of the trial. According to reports from Moscow, American, Canadian and British diplomats joined the crowd of some 40 friends and supporters of Shcharansky waiting outside the courthouse shouting encouragement to the defendant. Nobel Laureate Andrei Sakharov was among them.


Meanwhile, in Washington today, Senators, House members and American and Russian specialists in Soviet affairs called on the Carter Administration to take stem practical measures against the Soviet government for staging its show trials of dissidents in defiance of international agreements on human rights, including the Helsinki Act, which both the U.S. and Soviet Union have signed.

The Soviet Union was roundly condemned in resolutions in both the Senate and House, statements and interviews. The U.S. was urged to suspend economic and scientific agreements between the two countries and warn Moscow about meddling with the traditional meaning of the Olympic Games in 1980, particularly with reference to Israel and Soviet Jews.

The reaction here included calls for the U.S. to withdraw from the Helsinki Act itself in retaliation for Soviet violations of it. But Jewish spokesmen, among others, including William Korey, director of the B’nai B’rith’s International Policy Research Department, and Jerry Goodman, executive director of the NCSJ, urged that the U.S. continue its affiliation while acting against the Soviets in other ways. Their statements were given at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Before an overflow crowd of reporters and spectators at the Rayburn Office Building, the chairman of the U.S. Commission, Rep. Dante Fascell (D.Fla.) declared the Soviet treatment of the Soviet dissidents and Western journalists indicates “an arrogant and inhuman disregard for the promises made nearly three years ago at Helsinki and raises serious questions about international integrity of the Soviet government.”

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