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SAKHAROV: Soviet Aides Defend Internal Exile : Soviets, Challenged on Rights, Defend Treatment of Sakharov

July 20, 1985|WILLIAM J. EATON | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — Two Soviet government spokesmen Friday defended physicist Andrei D. Sakharov's banishment from Moscow while contending that the Soviet Union does not violate human rights.

At the same time, Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir B. Lomeiko, in a departure from customary moderate language, accused the United States of fostering child prostitution and the slave trade.

The name of Sakharov--who was sent into internal exile in the city of Gorky, 250 miles east of Moscow, in 1980--came up at a news conference related to the 10th anniversary of the signing of agreements reached at the 1975 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, held in Helsinki.

'State Secrets'

"He is a man who knows state secrets," Lomeiko said of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has often spoken out on human rights issues and who was banished without a trial. Two decades ago, Sakharov was a principal developer of the Soviet hydrogen bomb.

"In all countries, without limitation, there are certain restrictions on people who know state secrets," Lomeiko went on. "Many U.S. scientists who work on nuclear research are barred from going to socialist countries.

"Andrei Sakharov does have his salary and is able to work on his subject. Any unbiased and informed journalist knows how Andrei Sakharov was turned into a figure who represented all dissidents. . . .

"He came to live in Gorky because certain foreign persons abused his situation by maintaining constant contact with him," Lomeiko said, seemingly alluding to foreign correspondents who frequently interviewed Sakharov or his wife, Yelena Bonner, when they lived in Moscow.

Close Police Watch

Gorky, Sakharov's place of exile, is closed to foreigners. He is reportedly kept under intensive watch by the KGB security police, and his contacts with relatives and friends are closely monitored.

Soviet diplomat Vsevolod Sofinsky, who led the Kremlin's delegation at the recent Ottawa review conference on human rights, asked rhetorically at the news conference how Americans would like it if American nuclear physicist Edward Teller were to visit the Soviet Union.

Sakharov's name rarely is mentioned by Soviet officials and, in the past, Lomeiko has angrily turned away questions about him. Members of Sakharov's family say they are concerned about his health and that of his wife.

Earlier, Lomeiko accused the United States of innumerable human rights violations, charging that Americans had "turned Cuba into a brothel" in the years before 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power there.

Flesh-Peddling Charged

One of the worst abuses, he said, was the "shameful business in which the Mafia buys little girls from developing countries to be used in brothels in the rich countries and Third World. . . ."

He added that Americans "who keep talking about the violation of human rights in the socialist countries are nothing more than slave traders."

Lomeiko did not add any details of the accusation, and the news conference ended before he could be asked about it.

Sofinsky also accused the United States of denying human rights by allowing unemployment, racism and sexism. Both men insisted that the Soviet Union has an impeccable record on human rights matters.

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