To the Editors:
We are writers and publishers who are deeply concerned that the Moscow poet and human rights advocate Vladimir Bukovsky is being confined under prison camp conditions which, in view of his state of health, gravely endanger his life.
For more than a decade Bukovsky, age thirty-one, has been a leading spokesman for greater intellectual, artistic, and political freedom in the USSR and for application of existing law. He has protested closed and “packed” trials of fellow dissenters and has transmitted to the West documentary evidence of the use of Soviet psychiatric prison hospitals for punishing dissenters. For these activities he has spent much of his adult life in such hospitals, in strict regime prison camps, and in prisons. His health has been broken but he has refused to recant his views. Now he is confined in a punishment barracks, on greatly reduced rations, deprived of the right to have visits, mail, legal counsel, and medical treatment essential to his survival. In the opinion of relatives and friends he is being subjected to certain extrajudicial execution.
We the undersigned writers and publishers appeal to the Soviet leaders N. V. Podgorny, L. I. Brezhnev, and A. N. Kosygin to show clemency toward Vladimir Bukovsky by granting him his freedom, access to medical treatment, and, should he desire, the right to emigrate.
Robert L. Bernstein, President, Random House; Simon Michael Bessie, President, Atheneum; Henry Carlisle; John Hersey; William Jovanovich, Chairman, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; Winthrop Knowlton, President, Harper & Row; Jerzy Kosinsky; Arthur Miller; Harrison Salisbury; John Updike; W. Bradford Wiley, Chairman, John Wiley & Sons