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Soviet Dissident Calls for Release of Political Prisoners

March 12, 1987

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Soviet dissident Anatoly Koryagin has issued an open letter urging Kremlin leader Mikhail Gorbachev to release all political prisoners, according to a Dutch pro-dissident lobbying group.

Koryagin, himself released from prison less than three weeks ago, charged in the letter that the Kremlin’s highly publicized release of scores of political prisoners ended shortly after it began, according to the Bukovsky Foundation.

The Soviet government announced early this year that it was releasing about 150 political prisoners and reviewing the cases of another 150.

The foundation said it learned of the letter, issued Monday, in a telephone conversation with Koryagin.

The 48-year-old Koryagin, a psychiatrist, was imprisoned for six years after he reported publicly that Soviet authorities were using mental hospitals to punish dissidents.

The Bukovsky Foundation quoted him as saying in his letter that Soviet authorities are using physical abuse to pressure political prisoners to refrain from anti-Soviet activities once released.

After his own release from prison Feb. 19, Koryagin told the foundation that he had rejected attempts by the KGB to get him to refrain from speaking out on Soviet human rights issues.

Koryagin also accused authorities of exerting psychological pressure on political prisoners by raising their hopes of speedy release.

″In the same way, the wives, husbands and children of political prisoners suffer, who have become hopeful as a result of the current political climate in the country, that suddenly their loved one will return,″ said Koryagin’s letter, according to the foundation.

The foundation did not say if the letter was distributed within the Soviet Union.

The letter concluded, ″This is a unique occasion to show all people of this planet that the call for disarmament and humanism by the Soviet leadership is sincere.

″Care for the whole of humanity while being a humanist at home, Mr. Secretary General,″ it said, according to the foundation.