To the Editors:
Your readers may be interested in the statement below, which was sent to President Husak of Czechoslovakia to protest against the imprisonment of seven members of the Czech cultural organization, the Jazz Section. All seven face charges of “unlicensed trading” for their efforts on behalf of independent artistic expression, and could serve up to ten years in prison if convicted. The protest statement follows:
Dear President Husak:
We are writing to protest the arrests of Karel Srp and six other members of the Jazz Section. Their arrests violate the most basic human rights of self-expression and creativity. The Jazz Section has long stood for artistic freedom and social justice, both in Czechoslovakia and throughout the world. The group has described music as “a universal language, as a way to mutual understanding between people and nations.” This principle has been exemplified in the Jazz Section’s activities, such as raising funds for African famine victims and informing fellow Czech citizens about recent developments in theatre, film, music and the visual arts. As people from the American peace, human rights and environmental movements, and individuals active in the arts, we demand the immediate release of these members of the Jazz Section and call upon you to guarantee the rights of free cultural expression to all Czech citizens.
Campaign for Peace and Democracy/East and West ‘Across Frontiers’ Peace Activists East and West
P.O. Box 1640, Cathedral Station
New York, New York
December 18, 1986