As members of the international community of intellectuals and scholars we are shocked by the recent indictment and the imminent trial of three dissident leaders, Adam Michnik, Bogdan Lis, and Wladyslaw Frasyniuk. These actions indicate that our hopes for a more tolerant attitude toward free speech in Poland have been unfounded. These leaders, already imprisoned for two months, have been charged with inciting public unrest for merely discussing the possibility of calling a fifteen-minute general strike to protest food price increases. The strike, as you know, never even occurred.

Among those jailed is the historian Adam Michnik. A noted author and theorist of democracy, Michnik has devoted a lifetime to nonviolent protest on behalf of economic, cultural, and political freedom. He has already spent several years in prison in Poland. His release last summer was interpreted by some as a harbinger of liberalization. Mr. Michnik’s reimprisonment, so suddenly, obviously belies this view.

We strongly protest the imprisonment of Mr. Michnik and his colleagues. Any government which responds to the peaceful dissent of intellectuals through forceful detainment violates international standards of human rights and in so doing alienates itself from individuals and institutions in the world for whom such rights are sacrosanct. We demand that the Polish government adopt a genuine program of liberalization and begin by releasing Mr. Michnik and his colleagues.

Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel Prize in Economics (1972)

Julius Axelrod, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1970)

Saul Bellow, Nobel Prize in Literature (1976)

Paul Berg, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1980)

Herbert Brown, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1979)

Subrahmanyan Chundrasekhar, Nobel Prize in Physics (1983)

Leon N. Cooper, Nobel Prize in Physics (1972)

James W. Cronin, Nobel Prize in Physics (1980)

Gerard Debreu, Nobel Prize in Economics (1983)

Val L. Fitch, Nobel Prize in Physics (1980)

William A. Fowler, Nobel Prize in Physics (1983)

Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize in Economics (1976)

Sheldon L. Glashow, Nobel Prize in Physics (1979)

Roger C.L. Guillemin, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1977)

David H. Hubel, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1981)

Lawrence R. Klein, Nobel Prize in Economics (1980)

Simon Kuznets, Nobel Prize in Economics (1971)

Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Prize in Literature (1980)

Daniel Nathans, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1978)

Linus C. Pauling, Nobel Prize for Peace (1962)

Arno Penzias, Nobel Prize in Physics (1978)

Paul A. Samuelson, Nobel Prize in Economics (1970)

Theodore W. Schultz, Nobel Prize in Economics (1979)

Herbert A. Simon, Nobel Prize in Economics (1978)

Hamilton O. Smith, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1978)

Howard Temin, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1975)

James Tobin, Nobel Prize in Economics (1981)

Tosten N. Wiesel, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1981)

Kenneth C. Wilson, Nobel Prize in Physics (1982)

Rosalyn S. Yalow, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1977)

This Issue

June 27, 1985