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The Fate of Kudirka

In response to:

In Soviet Prisons from the November 15, 1973 issue

To the Editors:

As I read the appeal made by Amnesty International on behalf of V. Buchovski [NYR, Letter, November 15], I was sadly reminded of Simas Kudirka, the Lithuanian seaman who, three years ago this Thanks-giving, was brutally returned to the Soviet ship from which he had defected by US coastguard officials and is now serving a ten-year hard labor sentence in Siberia. According to a news item in the German weekly Die Zeit, Kudirka’s name was one among a few prisoners who signed a petition on Sakharov’s behalf—another illustration of his unbroken spirit.

While we are so generous to support dissidents within the Soviet Union, would it not be possible to divert some of this public support and interest to the man for whose tragic fate we are responsible? I wonder if Amnesty International has any information on Kudirka and his family and could perhaps direct the readers of NYR whether something could be done in his behalf.

V. Bielski

Toronto, Ontario

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