To the Editors:
I believe that men of learning—philosophers, scholars, scientists—have a special obligation to speak out when human rights are violated. Many of our colleagues are paying a heavy price in Soviet prisons and camps for living up to this obligation. We cannot forget them.
Among them is my friend, Yevhen Pronyuk, a research associate of the Institute of Philosophy, Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, and author of many articles on the history of philosophy in the Ukraine. For writing protest letters against the wave of illegal arrests in the Ukraine in 1972, Pronyuk was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and five years’ exile. I met him in Labor Camp No. 35 of the Perm Region in 1974. He is a noble and courageous man. In spite of weak health and exhaustion, he unflinchingly protested against the arbitrary actions of the camp authorities. Under harsh punishments and repeated hunger strikes, he succumbed to tuberculosis. By the summer of 1975 he was very ill and spitting blood. If his life is to be saved, he must be released from camp immediately and given intensive medical treatment.
I appeal to you to do everything in your power to save my friend’s life.
c/o Committee for the Defense of Soviet Political Prisoners
PO Box 142, Cooper Station
New York, New York 10003
December 8, 1977