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Sakharov Reunited With Stepson, Urges Amnesty for All 'Prisoners of Conscience'

January 25, 1987|WILLIAM J. EATON | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — Dissident physicist Andrei D. Sakharov said Saturday that only a general amnesty for all "prisoners of conscience" would signal that real, enduring changes on human rights have taken place in the Soviet Union.

Sakharov, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who was released from seven years of internal exile in the closed city of Gorky only a month ago, made his statement to reporters after an emotional airport reunion with his stepson, Alexei Semyonov.

"The situation with human rights remains contradictory in many areas and sometimes even tragic," Sakharov said. He referred to the death of Anatoly Marchenko, a writer and human rights activist, in a prison camp last Dec. 8 as one example of tragedy.

Hopes for New Policy

"I share the hope that recent changes (in the Soviet Union) mark the beginning of a very important process, but this is only the beginning," he said.

"Only a complete, general amnesty for all prisoners of conscience would mean that changes in our country are real and would endure," Sakharov added.

Meantime, a dramatic example of Sakharov's apparent influence was disclosed when a friend of his, Serafim Yevsukov, was released from a psychiatric hospital near Moscow after Sakharov's intervention in the case.

Yevsukov, a former navigator for the Soviet airline Aeroflot who had asked to leave the country, was put into a psychiatric hospital last July 19. Sakharov sent a telegram Jan. 15 to the hospital chief, asking for Yevsukov's release.

Sakharov received a telegram Friday saying that Yevsukov would be released, and he returned home Saturday, according to Yevsukov's daughter, Ludmilla. She said doctors gave no reason why he was confined and added that he remains under "psychiatric control," indicating he could be returned to the hospital at any time.

'That's Not Enough'

Earlier, Sakharov, who won international renown as a champion of human rights, told reporters he had heard Western radio reports that 200 political prisoners might be released.

"That's not enough, of course," he said. "I know at least 500 of them by name and there are at least 700 in prison for their beliefs."

Semyonov, who had not seen his stepfather since he moved to the United States more than a decade ago, arrived with a delegation of American college and university officials.

The two men shouted each other's names, then embraced and kissed after Semyonov emerged from a strict customs check. Semyonov's mother, Yelena Bonner, was waiting at the Sakharovs' apartment for them.

Semyonov explained that the group had brought a personal computer for Sakharov as a gift and it caused some delay in the clearance procedures.

College Presidents in Group

Edmond L. Volpe, president of the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York, acted as spokesman for the group, which included seven college presidents.

Volpe thanked the Soviet government for granting visas to them and to Semyonov and added: "We are hoping that the release of Andrei Sakharov represents a new opportunity for human rights.

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