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April 11, 1986 - Image 98

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-04-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

98 Friday, April 11, 1986

BACKGROUND

Soviet Tells Reporter:
Anatoly Was Framed

BY NEIL REISNER
Special to The Jewish News

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.

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BREDE, INC.
19000 Glendale Ave.
Detroit, Michigan

Dist. by DETROIT CITY DAIRY, INC.
868-5511

Available in
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Passover Kosher.

.

Anatoly Shcharansky was given a physical exam by Dr. Mervyn
Gotsman at Hadassah Hospital after Shcharansky's release from
Russia. Shcharansky was found to have a slight heart defect, a
trembling hand and dental problems.

Soviet officials knew Anatoly
Shcharansky never spied for the
CIA, but "cold-bloodedly" con-
victed him as a message to other
dissidents, according to the re-
porter accused by the KGB of
being his CIA contact.
Robert Toth, Moscow bureau
chief for the Los Angeles Times
from August 1974 to June 1977,
was arrested by the KGB six days
before he was to depart for the
U.S. and about three months after
Shcharansky's arrest.
Toth, 57, writes on national se-
curity for the Times from Wash-
ington. He returned to the Soviet
Union for the first time last No-
vember to cover preparations for
the Reagan-Gorbachev summit
meeting.
In a telephone interview, Toth
said a Soviet official whom he
would not identify, conceded that
Shcharansky's conviction was a
sham.
"That they let me back in said
something about how serious they
were about charging me with es-
pionage," Toth said. "I talked to
someone there, and I said what
made me angry was that they had
done it so cold-bloodedly, knowing
he was not guilty. And this person
said, 'It was time to punish some-
one.' I think it was as simple and
as tragic as that, and it was as
brutal as that, too."
Toth, who was friendly with
Shcharansky in Russia, was one
of two newspaper reporters to
interview the dissident in the
days immediately following his
release in February after serving
nine years of a 13-year sentence.
Shcharansky had served as a
spokesman for. Jewish emigration
activists and for democratic
Soviet dissidents working to re-
form the Soviet system. Toth in
1977 'was interrogated by the
KGB about his contacts with
Shcharansky for 13 hours over the
three days following his arrest.
He was permitted to leave the
USSR with his family a few days
later.

While in Russia, Toth wrote an
article pointing to a contradiction
in Soviet policy. Based partially
on information supplied 'by
Shcharansky, the ,article said
Soviet officials claimed certain
institutions were doing "secret"
research and refusenicks working
at them thus could not leave the
country. When purchasing
American technology, however,
some of the same institutions said
they were not conducting secret
work.
The article implied that if the
institutions' work was secret,
they should not receive American
know-how, and that if the work
was open, the refusenicks did not
possess state secrets. Along with
Toth's interrogation, the article
was used as evidence during
Shcharansky's trial.
Toth said he does not believe his
articles were responsible for
Shcharansky's trial and impris-
onment. "The Soviets said I was
the CIA agent who ran
Shcharansky. 'If it was not me,
they would have named someone
else as the CIA agent. I think I feel
responsible for having written a
story several years before which
dealt with secrets, but I am con-
vinced that there was nothing in
retrospect that I could have done
or not done that would have af-
fected him."
Toth discussed the article and
his subsequent interrogation
when he met Shcharansky in Is-
rael in February. He said
Shcharansky had been allowed to
read accounts of the interrogation
while preparing for the trial.
"There was a whole character
reference among the documents
that Shcharansky received about
me," Toth said, including allega-
tions that he and other correspon-
dents were Jewish.
"That's not correct, but, as he
(Shcharansky) said, they had to
make everybody in the plot
Jewish in order to sustain it. I

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