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Czechs Bar 10 Dissidents From U.S. Reception

July 06, 1986|United Press International

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia — Police detained at least 10 Czechoslovak human rights activists to keep them from attending a Fourth of July reception at the U.S. ambassador's residence, dissident sources said Saturday.

Anna Sabatova, a spokeswoman for Charter '77, a group set up nine years ago to monitor state compliance with the Helsinki Final Act on human rights, was one of the activists picked up Friday while waiting in a reception line outside the gates of the residence.

The sources said about 60 dissidents had been invited to the annual Fourth of July reception, but only about two dozen attended because of the crackdown.

It was the third incident in three days in which a U.S. official was prevented from having contact with dissidents. Previously, they had not been barred from meeting with American representatives.

Homes Surrounded

On Wednesday, three activists, including Sabatova, were prevented from attending a dinner hosted by visiting Sen. Larry Pressler, (D-S.D.), when police surrounded their homes.

The following night, Pressler attempted to visit Sabatova but was twice prevented from entering the apartment building. She was threatened with arrest when she started coming downstairs to meet with Pressler, who is chairman of the European affairs subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Western diplomatic sources said the incidents involving Pressler were formally protested to the Prague government.

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