To the Editors:
On March 1, 1983, Irina Ratushinskaya, a twenty-eight-year-old writer in the USSR, was convicted of engaging in “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” Her crime was to have written poetry and stories for the underground literary magazine Samizdat, and to have distributed her verse in typescript to other writers.
Her sentence: seven years in prison, five years internal exile.
As writers and teachers, we view the treatment of our Soviet colleague as an infringement of her basic human rights. We protest the arrest, conviction, and sentencing of Ms. Ratushinskaya. We wish to register our concern about her physical and mental well-being while in confinement. We urge the authorities in the USSR to reopen her case, and to secure her immediate release.
We urge readers to express their concern by writing to: Ambassador M.A. Dobrynin, Ambassador of the USSR, 1125 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.
Edward Hower, James McConkey, William Kennedy, Kenneth McClane, Jon Stallworthy, Alison Lurie, and twenty-five other signatories