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'Gorbachev and Sakharov'

January 16, 1987

I along with many others rejoice at the release of Andrei Sakharov from exile in Gorky and the reinstatement of his rights as a citizen of the U.S.S.R.

At the same time, however, many other, less well-known individuals remain in prisons and mental hospitals, locked up for exercising the same rights of speech and action that Sakharov supports.

One of them is a young man named Aleksei Musatov, who was arrested, it appears, solely for the practice of a religion not approved by the state and who has been held in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane for the last three years.

Aleksei Musatov is not well-known or politically important, but simply a laborer of limited education who worked as janitor in a kindergarten at the time of his arrest. Repeated requests to Soviet authorities for information about his condition and the expected date of his release have met with no response.

This letter is an appeal to the people and government of the U.S.S.R. to abide by both spirit and letter of their constitution and international covenants to insure justice and humane treatment for all their citizens.

The true measure of any commitment to human rights in the Soviet Union will be the fate of people like Aleksei Musatov, ordinary workers without the advantage of worldwide fame and influential position.



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