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Free Evdokimov!

In response to:

Evdokimov Case from the February 17, 1983 issue

To the Editors:

On February 17, 1983 the Review published a letter from some fifty classicists protesting the arrest and imprisonment of Rostislav Evdokimov, a classical scholar then thirty-two years of age. Amnesty International groups in Canada and Norway and PEN have also been working for his release.

Evdokimov is currently serving the third year of a five-year term in a labor camp; his sentence stipulates three years of internal exile to follow his time in camp. He has repeatedly been kept in isolation, deprived of warm clothing, and fed only bread and cold water. He suffers from arthritis and serious kidney problems, but has received virtually no medical attention. Moreover, the camp authorities have, until recently, refused to let his mother visit him.

In recent months the Soviet Union has shown more willingness to respond to human rights appeals. The release of Irina Ratushinskaya, who had been incarcerated on the same charge of anti-Soviet propaganda as Evdokimov, is most encouraging. We hope that such an act is indicative of the policy of the present Soviet leadership. If the authorities now release our colleague and permit him to emigrate to receive medical treatment and resume his scholarly career, the international community of classical scholarship would see a welcome confirmation of the current trend.

Victor Bers

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut

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