Refusenik stuck in Russia for Pesach needs assistance

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Two weeks later, he was fired from his job as deputy chief at Rubyn, a company under the supervision of the Department of Ship Building.

Masarsky then took Rubyn and OVIR to court and filed his case with the St. Petersburg city authorities, who denied his case. He went to the Supreme Court of Russia, arguing that all data with which he worked at Rubyn were made public in a reference book published in 1993. In addition, a full list of plans and bases was made public in a joint memorandum signed in 1990 by former Presidents Gorbachev and Bush.

"They've been discussing our work on television for years," said Masarsky, adding that many of his colleagues have received their international passports and are free to leave Russia.

On Feb. 21, Russia's Supreme Court confirmed Masarsky's refusenik status. Despite testimony by leading human rights attorney Yuri Schmidt and jurisprudence expert M. Petrosyan in support of Masarsky's case, and the defendants' failure to substantiate their case, the judge decided Masarsky's fate after 10 minutes deliberation.

He is now preparing his case for an appeal to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. If that fails, he plans to go to the European Commission for Human Rights.

"Some things never change," said Simon Klarfeld, executive director of the Bay Area Council for Jewish Rescue and Renewal, which is sponsoring Masarsky's legal battles. "We have to speak out for those still dreaming of exodus."

For information about Masarsky's case and ways to assist, call (415) 585-1400.