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Eight More Dissidents Reported Freed

March 17, 1987

MOSCOW (AP) _ Eight more dissidents have been freed from prisons or labor camps and allowed to return to Moscow, according to activist Yelena Bonner.

Bonner, the wife of physicist Andrei D. Sakharov, told Western reporters late Monday that five were released late last week and three were freed earlier Monday.

Bonner and her husband, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, have been keeping a count of the number of dissidents freed since they returned from exile in the closed city of Gorky in late December. She said the recent release of the eight brings the total to 86.

Among those released last week were Ivan Kovalyov and Tanya Osipov, a husband and wife who had publicized alleged Soviet human rights abuses. They had been sentenced on charges of anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.

Bonner said the couple was told they could emigrate.

She said Galina Barats, Alexei Smirnov and Mikhail Rifkin, who also were serving terms for alleged anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, were freed Monday.

Rifkin was involved in the 1970s in the underground publication Chronicle of Current Events, and Smirnov helped publish a dissident socialist journal.

Mrs. Barats’ husband, Vasily, was involved in dissident religious groups. He was released in February.

Soviet officials said earlier this year that about 150 dissidents were being released and that they were studying the cases of about 150 more.

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