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An Armenian Leader in Prison

In response to:

On Gorbachev from the May 17, 1990 issue

To the Editors:

The Armenian leader mentioned by Elena Bonner in her speech “On Gorbachev” [NYR, May 17], was misidentified in the translation and accompanying footnote. His name is Arkady (not Arkali) Manucharov.

In 1988, Manucharov was elected chairperson of the “KRUNK” Committee, the Nagorno-Karabakh sister movement of Armenia’s Karabakh Committee. The acronym KRUNK means “crane” in Armenian, thus symbolizing the desire of Karabakh Armenians to “fly home” i.e., be annexed to Armenia.

Manucharov, sixty, a civil engineer, inventor, and member of the Communist party since 1951 was, until his arrest, the director of the Plant for Construction Materials in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, and a deputy to the Armenian Supreme Soviet. He was detained in Yerevan on November 28, 1988, under charges of inciting public disorder. A separate investigation was simultaneously launched into charges of alleged embezzlement by Manucharov, who has been often referred to as a “black marketeer” in the Azerbaijani press. A legal dispute has developed over the court proceedings, which have been transferred from Moscow to the district court in Brest, Byelorussia, and now back to Moscow. Defence lawyers for Manucharov argue that he was given insufficient access to counsel after his arrest and that his rights of due process have been violated.

Manucharov is currently being held in the Butyrskaya prison in Moscow, and—as of this writing—no date has been set for his trial. Information on the Manucharov case is being compiled by the Zoryan Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Amnesty International has considered adopting him as a prisoner of conscience.

Conor Daly
Berkeley, California

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