Former Jewish Activist Makes Televised Confession
MOSCOW (AP) _ A Jewish activist arrested seven months ago made a televised confession Friday of what he called his crimes, saying he regretted having fallen victim to the foreign Zionists and becoming an enemy of Soviet power.
Dmitri Shapiro, known among Moscow’s Jewish activists before his arrest last December as Daniel Shapiro, spoke for about 15 minutes, naming foreign correspondents and diplomats he alleged had encouraged his anti-Soviet actions.
Shapiro, who was once an unofficial Hebrew teacher, was arrested last December at the trial of another unofficial Hebrew teacher, Yuli Edelstein, who was given a three-year sentence for alleged drug possession. Edelstein’s family charged that the drugs had been planted during a police search of his apartment.
Shapiro was accused of assaulting a police officer and scheduled for trial on charges of spreading anti-Soviet slander, an offense carrying a maximum three-year sentence.
Nothing more was heard of him until the official news agency Tass reported June 27 that Shapiro had pleaded guilty to the charges, made a full confession and vowed not to take part in anti-Soviet activities again.
He was given a suspended sentence, Tass said.
Shapiro said on television Friday, using words identical to those attributed to him by Tass: ″I realized that I have actually become an enemy of Soviet power.
″I deeply repent my crime. I have revised my views. I regret having fallen victim to the foreign Zionists. I have been used for anti-Soviet purposes which ware alien to me. I would like my former friends to make the same conclusions as well. I will under no circumstances ever commit anti-Soviet actions again.″
Shapiro named three foreign correspondents and three western diplomats he said ″constantly expected and demanded new tendentious information″ from himself and his friends.
Shapiro’s confession on national television was not the first by a repentant former dissident. Georgian activist Zviad Gamsakhurdia confessed to alleged crimes in 1978, as did a former religious dissident in 1980.
In 1983, Valery Repin, a former manager of the Solzhenitsyn Fund, confessed on Leningrad television to high treason, and was given the mildest sentence possible - two years in jail and three years in internal exile.
The Solzhenitsyn Fund was set up to help families of imprisoned dissidents.