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Jewish Activist Freed from Labor Camp, Returns to Moscow

September 16, 1987

MOSCOW (AP) _ Alexei Magarik, a 28-year-old Jewish dissident, returned Wednesday to a joyous greeting from friends and fellow activists after more than a year in Siberian labor camp.

After disembarking from the train from Omsk, Magarik was embraced by fellow activist Josef Begun and a crowd of relatives and well-wishers.

He was released in Omsk on Monday after serving 16 months of a three-year term on drug charges that he said were fabricated to stifle his complaints about the treatment of Soviet Jews and his teaching of Hebrew.

Magarik was sentenced in June 1986 after authorities said they found marijuana in a cigarette packet he was carrying at Tbilisi airport in the southern republic of Georgia.

Magarik told reporters he has not been informed by authorities whether his request to emigrate with his family to Israel will be approved.

″Today I need to come home and spend time with family and friends,″ he said. ″What I do in the future probably doesn’t depend on only me.″

Many of the political and religious activists freed this year under a review of cases involving anti-Soviet activity and in an amnesty in honor of the Nov. 7 Revolution Day holiday have been granted permission to emigrate within weeks of their release.

Magarik and his wife, Natalya Ratner, applied to emigrate in 1984. They now have a 2-year-old son, Chaim.

Ms. Ratner traveled to Omsk on Monday to meet her husband upon his release. The couple returned together by train to Moscow’s Kazan railway station.

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