To the Editors:
Mihajlo Mihajlov, the thirty-nine-year-old Yugoslav writer and teacher, is again in prison in Yugoslavia. He is the victim of relentless government attempts to silence his dissenting voice.
Mihajlov was arrested, for the fourth time since 1965, on October 7, 1974. He is in Novi Sad prison, near Belgrade. According to reliable sources, his trial, postponed several times, now scheduled for January 1975, will be held in secret.
Articles written by Mihajlov were published last spring in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Leader, and Freedom at Issue. These were translated and reprinted by a Russian émigré publication in the Federal Republic of Germany. In a December 7, 1974 letter to his sister from prison, Mihajlov says, “I am incriminated with ten paragraphs from four of my articles.”
Mihajlov is the author of the 1965 book, Moscow Summer 1964, an account of Soviet labor camps. He has written essays criticizing intellectual repression within Yugoslavia. He advocates a form of socialist democracy. In The New York Review of Books (May 30, 1974), he wrote: “…the smallest criticism of the Yugoslav regime and any attempt to deal with recent Yugoslav history from the same point of view that Solzhenitsyn treats post-revolutionary Russia are activities no less dangerous than in the USSR…the essence of one-party monopoly is the same…statements which are not in accord with the resolutions of the last plenary session of the Party Central Committee can be published only in the Western press, with the same consequences as in Russia.”
In 1965, Mihajlov was fired from his job as a teacher of Russian literature at Zadar University. Since then, he has been unable to obtain a job of any kind. Although the 1967 ban on publication of his works has been lifted, no one in Yugoslavia will publish them. Mihajlov’s only source of income is from publication abroad.
Mihajlov is not permitted to work at home or abroad and before he was jailed was threatened with eviction from his apartment. He has made more than twenty unsuccessful applications for a passport. Stanford University of California has offered Mihajlov a teaching post. The government will not grant him permission to accept it, though other Yugoslavs, particularly in academic circles, enjoy considerable freedom of movement.
Mihajlov does not want to emigrate, but to work within his own country to change the government control of information.
The International League for the Rights of Man, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to the free expression of ideas everywhere, is asking for urgent demonstration of public concern. To protest Mihajlov’s imprisonment, oppose secret trial, support his right to teach and write at home or abroad with freedom of expression, letters and telegrams should be sent to: (1) President Josip Broz Tito, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Blvd Oktobarske Revolucije BR No. 92, Belgrade; and (2) Ambassador Tomo Jranfil, Embassy of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United States, 2410 California Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008.
Education & Information Officer
for the Rights of Man
777 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
January 23, 1975