Visas Denied Hunger Striker’s Family
MOSCOW (AP) _ A Soviet Jew said Monday he was ending his six-week-long hunger strike even though authorities have refused to grant exit visas to his family, including his ailing wife.
Fyodor Finkel, 29, said from his bed in his Moscow apartment that he plans to continue other means of protest aimed at winning permission for his wife to seek medical treatment in the West. She has ovarian and uterine tumors, he said.
Finkel said he will ask authorities to let his wife go to the West alone.
″This seems to be a more practical goal now. The main thing is to get treatment for her,″ he told The Associated Press.
Finkel’s sister Lilya, who joined the hunger strike Finkel began 42 days ago, also ended her fast Monday and was resting in bed at the Finkel’s home.
In December, Finkel, his wife, his brother and his sister applied for permission to emigrate. Finkel and his sister later announced their hunger strikes, and Finkel was detained by authorities several times for demonstrating in public to demand visas.
On Monday, Finkel’s wife, Svetlana Mayatnikova, went to the Moscow city visa office, where Finkel said she was told the family could not leave.
Finkel said authorities told her the denial was based on the military service of his brother, Vadim, who was discharged from the Soviet army in 1983.
Many Soviet citizens denied permission to emigrate are refused on grounds of having had access to state secrets, including in the military.
Finkel formerly was a member of the Free Interprofessional Association of Workers, an independent trade union that operated in the late 1970s as a protest against Soviet labor policies.