To the Editors:
An appeal from the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, along with Jiri Pelikan, Andrei Sakharov and Pavel Litvinov, calls for world-wide participation of socialists, communists, democratic and humanitarian organizations and individuals in protests against the repression of civil liberties in the USSR and Eastern Europe. In November the appeal focuses on the Czechoslovak political prisoners—Jaroslav Sabata and Jiri Muller.
Sabata and Muller were arrested in November 1971 for distributing leaflets explaining the constitutional rights of voters in the upcoming election. Both are well known socialists and participants in the 1968 “Prague spring.” Sabata, a Communist party member since 1946, was elected to the Party Presidium at the 14th Party Congress in August 1968. Muller, who was expelled from the university in 1966, was reinstated and “rehabilitated” under the Dubcek government.
In the summer of 1972, they were tried under Article 98 (subversion); the court chairman noted that the court had not formed the opinion that they were enemies of socialism which is necessary for conviction. In complete disregard of the law, Sabata was sentenced to six and one-half years and Muller to five and one-half years.
Recent reports indicate that both men are held in total isolation and that they are in poor health. Sabata suffers from stomach and duodenal ulcers. Visible support from American dissidents is necessary to help win their release.
We urge readers to participate in teachins and rallies scheduled during the week of November 19-27 at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of Chicago.
Coalition Against Repression in the USSR
and Eastern Europe, PO Box 1848
GPO, New York City 10001
November 28, 1974