Volume 22 Number 88
                       Produced: Wed Jan 17 23:53:43 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fattakhov case in Tashkent
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Shmuel Cytryn and "Massering"
         [Carl Sherer]
Urgent Action appeal for Dmitrii Fattakhov
         [The Union of Councils for Soviet Jews]


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 01:18:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Fattakhov case in Tashkent

On Fri, 12 Jan 1996, Mike Gerver wrote:

> Mordechai Perlman, in Mail-Jewish Announcements and Requests v2n68,
> reports what he was told by an official at the U. S. State Department
> about Dmitrii Fattakhov, and concludes that "there was no reason to
> proceed" with his plan to get people at his yeshiva and at local day
> schools to write letters about the case to Uzbek authorities. He
> originally made the inquiry at the State Department because the
> "principal of one of the day schools was only willing to move on the
> idea if I could get outside confirmation of the facts as they were
> presented."

> This raises several questions:
> 1) Is the information from the State Department accurate?

	I spoke with Micah Naftalin from the UCSJ at length.  It appears
that the info from the S.D. is accurate, BUT, is accurate only because
of when they gathered their evidence.  Fattakhov was arrested in April,
tortured and a confession beaten out of him.  It is quite plausible that
6 months later he looked much better, which is when the officials of the
S.D. saw him.  However, it is incorrect that there is evidence that
would lead to a guilty verdict.  It is true that initaially his lawyer
pleaded guilty with insanity, because he was afraid that should he plead
not guilty, they would try him and execute him.  It is inaccurate for an
official in the S.D. to say that he could be guilty when the
U.S. Ambassador to that country says that all evidence is to his
innocence.  Even now, the Foreign Minister of that country says he is

> 2) Even if it is accurate, does this mean there is "no reason to
> proceed" with plans to write letters about Fattakhov to Uzbek officials?

	Because the UCSJ has told me that no allegations have or are to
be made to the Uzbeks of anti-semitism -- despite the glaring facts that
the two "accomplices" were released despite having gone through the same
treatment as he -- and that the only content the letters to them ought
to have is that he's been falsely accused and his human rights have been
violated, there might be a danger in the Jewish community rising up to
write letters en masse.  This was the opinion of Agudath Israel of
America.  I consulted them because in getting involved with foreign
governments, two things must be balanced, the fate of the cause, and the
community at large.  The initial damper on my campaign was because we
might inadvertently cause harm to the Uzbek Jewish community.
Therefore, I was told by the Aguda, that rather than rouse the Jewish
community to write letters, letters, phone calls, faxes and even
appointments ought to be made with and to government officials in any
country that can be of influence.  Specifically the Israeli government
should be targeted, because a plea has been entered by his lawyers to
send him to Israel for psychiatric treatment (perhaps a way for the
authorities to save face).  It appears that the Israelis are out to
lunch, because they have fantastic trade relations with the Uzbeks which
they do not wish to upset.  The American and British governments have
already said as much to the Uzbeks that he should be sent to Israel.  It
remains for the Israelis to ask for him.  The fear is that if the Jewish
community at large writes, as Jews, to the Uzbeks for his release, that
the Uzbeks will get the idea that we mean this as an offense to us as
Jews, otherwise known as Anti-Semitism.  This indeed may cause a
backlash against the Jewish community there.

> 3) Why was the principal of the day school skeptical about the
> information received from the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews? Why was
> he (or Mordechai) more skeptical about UCSJ as a source of information,
> than he was about the State Department? I believe this may be indicative
> of a problem in the Jewish community which has implications beyond this
> particular case.

	Initially when I received the first e-mail in Elul, It did not
say any names, just the organization.  I consulted one of the local
rabbis, who travels to Russia about once a month, about the UCSJ.  He
told me that upon occasion they have tried to help people which turned
out not to be Jewish.  Therefore, before we attempt any lobbying, let's
get the facts straight.  I could not find any listings for the UCSJ
wherever I looked (it might have been a gross error on my part).  I had
no choice but to seek confirmation elsewhere.  Where?  I have a cousin
in the American embassy in Tashkent.  I consulted him.  He would not
give me an official response but told me a lot of things on which we
based our initial info.  This led to the problem of the seeming
contradiction between their info and his.  The rest of the story you

> 	I urge everyone reading this, now, while you are thinking of it,
> to write a letter to one or more of the Uzbek officials, and U.S.
> officials, listed in the appeal from UCSJ posted in Mail-Jewish
> Announcements and Requests Volume 2 Number 68.

	I have already mentioned the position of the Aguda on this
matter.  Therefore, I have faxed to my Israeli consul all the e-mails
that I received from the UCSJ.  I tried to contact him personally but am
told constantly that he is out of the office.  I hope to make an
appointment to meet him personally on Wednesday.  I will also contact my
member of Parliament as well as former Jewish members of Parliament that
can possibly be of influence.

> 	I am disturbed, by the way, by Mordechai's remark that "he is
> Jewish on his mother's side (which makes him deserve our concern)..."
> Do you mean to imply if that a non-Jew who is falsely accused of murder
> doesn't deserve our concern?!

	We are adjured by Hashem, "Lo Saamod al Dam Reyecha" (Do not
stand idly while the blood of your friend is being spilled).  The Jewish
community has many concerns.  The above commandment is one of them.  A
non-Jew has his own brothers (although I'd be surprised if they
generally respond so well).  Let us take care of all our pressing
concerns first.  After all, we are not some huge power that can fight
everybody's battles like the Americans etc.  Our resources are limited
and therefore should be used for Jews.

	Aside from all our efforts in this regard, in accordance with
the Torah and the advice of our Sages; we should also pray for Dmittri's
life and situation as well as the jewish community there.  Does anyone
know his Hebrew name and his mother's Hebrew name?

				Mordechai Perlman


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 96 7:46:26 IST
Subject: Shmuel Cytryn and "Massering"

Rabbi Michael Broyde writes:

> To be honest, I question if it is halachicly proper to adopt a policy of
> encouraging the United States government to interfere in the internal
> workings of the Israeli government.  It smells of a form of mesirah, and
> ought not be done without a considerable amount of forethought.
> 	I write this with absolutely no idea of whether Mr. Cytryn is
> innocent or guilty, deserves imprisonment without trial (administrative
> detention is legal in Israel, and frequently used in cases of security
> threats) or not.
> 	However, I do not believe that the American Jewish community
> should contact its Senators and Representatives or the US embassador to
> Israel and protest the conduct of the Israeli government.

Maybe I'm missing something but I've always understood the prohibition
of mesira (tattling) as being a prohibition which applies to turning
over individual Jews to a secular government for punishment.  I don't
think that calling upon the United States government to pressure the
Israeli government to release Cytryn either constitutes turning over an
individual to a secular government, nor does it call for that secular
government to extract any sort of punishment.  It simply asks that
secular government to give friendly advice to the Israeli government to
exercise its responsibility as a member of the world community to act

Second, the prohibition of mesira, as far as I know, does not apply to
situations of Pikuach Nefesh.  Where someone is a murderer and I know
that he will murder again chas v'shalom, and I am able to stop him from
murdering by reporting him to the New York police department (to use an
innocuous example) I don't think there is any prohibition on doing so
and aderaba (exactly the opposite) there is an obligation to do so.  If
we assume all of the facts cited by the original post to mj-announce are
correct, it strikes me that there is an issue of pikuach nefesh here
(Mr. Cytryn's) and that we may be required by halacha to speak up on his

Lastly, in the aftermath of the events of the last two months, I would
be *very* hesitant to label anyone a moser with all that implies.

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: The Union of Councils for Soviet Jews <0004201773@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 96 17:30 EST
Subject: Urgent Action appeal for Dmitrii Fattakhov

Thank you for your ingenuity in trying to set up a letter writing system
in your Yeshiva, and we encourage others to emulate it.  However, it is
unfortunate that you have called into question publicly the credibility
of, and perhaps undermined, the grassroots campaign to protect and save
the life of a young Uzbekistan Jew, Dmitrii Fattakhov. The factual basis
for this campaign has been carefully reviewed and checked by two
independent and experienced organizations -- The Caucasus Network and
the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews, as well as the American attorney
for the Fattakhov family who has reviewed hundreds of pages of
documentation.  I wish you had raised your questions and observations
directly with us before airing them on the internet.

As I write this response [see updated note at end], we have received
preliminary information from Tashkent that Dmitrii has not yet been
transferred to the state hospital but rather, and perhaps more
ominously, he is incarcerated in the medical/psychiatric unit of the
Tashkent jail where he is confined in a cell, equipped with only three
beds, with six other prisoners. This represents yet another major
violation of his human rights as well as threat to his health and

I offer the following in response to your communication:

1.  State Department officials in Washington and Tashkent are indeed
pressing the human rights abuses (e.g., procuring false confessions by
torture) with the Uzbek government.  They are doing so largely in
response to our advice and urgings.  That representatives of the U.S.,
U.K. and Israeli governments are attending his trial proceedings is a
very strong indication of the international official concern being
afforded Dmitrii.

2.  We were aware at the time that an Embassy official visited Dmitrii
on October 21 and found no remaining physical evidence -- scars or marks
on his face -- of his beatings.  But, after six months to heal, such
observation in no way refutes the direct eye witness testimony by many
observers of such brutal beatings and torture made contemporaneous with
the events. By the time of such interview, Fattakhov was no longer
virtually comatose, as he had been during the early summer.  But as late
as December 22, even the Uzbek court and psychiatric evaluators
concluded that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial as he "suffers
from the symptoms of a temporary breakdown of mental activity." On this
basis, the court remanded him to the state psychiatric hospital.

Incidentally, since you raise the question of the State Department's
position, I have seen one, now obsolete, letter from a State Department
official who was evidently not then prepared to officially confirm the
deterioration of Dmitrii's mental condition.  However, that letter was
written in November, prior to the December 22 findings of the trial
court, based on the official psychiatric panel report.

His now unquestioned condition is the direct result of extreme torture
administered while in jail.  There is thus absolutely no basis for your
characterization that he may simply "have been mistreated in some way"
or that we have "significantly exaggerated" the brutality of his

3.  Your references to alleged problems concerning Dmitrii's
"Jewishness," or connected to his ability to emigrate to Israel as a Jew
are also completely misinformed.

His birth certificate documents that his mother is Jewish, a fact that
guarantees his right to Israeli citizenship under the law of return. He
and his mother had made plans to make Aliya prior to his arrest and we
have been assured by Israeli officials that he will be welcome there
once the Uzbek government permits him to travel.  As noted above, the
Israeli embassy has been following the case closely and actively,

It is true that his biological father, with whom (as a consequence of
divorce) he never lived, was a Tatar. But, his Jewish mother raised him
as a Jew.  He was circumsised (brit); he was Bar Mitzvahed; and he was
attending Hebrew classes at the Israeli center prior to his

Your assertion that there is no evidence he considered himself Jewish is
a false and mischievous one indeed.

I sincerely hope these comments will restore your faith, and the faith
of those who read your comments, in the vital campaign to save the life
of Dmitrii Fattakhov, a young Uzbek Jew who has suffered brutal torture
affecting his mind and body, who stands accused of a murder he did not
commit in a country not known for its observance of due process of law,
and who now faces the fear of historic abuses of psychiatry.  During the
past twenty five years, the UCSJ has campaigned successfully for scores
of Jews in the former Soviet Union who were framed and prosecuted for
crimes they did not commit, who were subjected to the horrors of Soviet
jails and psychiatric hospitals. We have been well served by the strict
accuracy of the underground network of monitors with whom we worked and
who risked their own safety to protect others.  Times have changed
little in Uzbekistan.

This young man's safety depends upon our training the spotlight of
international concern directly on him. I hope and pray the readers of
your message are not moved to abandon Dmitrii.  His safety depends on
readers joining the international expressions of concern.

Micah H. Naftalin, National Director, Union of Councils for Soviet Jews

NOTE:.  Since this message was prepared, Dmitrii is now in a psychiatric
section for prisoners of a general hosital, where he can not receive
visitors, even his mother, rather than in the strict regime psychiatric
hospital, as ordered by the judge, and where he could receive visitors.
The Uzbek government must be pressed to allow his mother to visit, to
release him, and to let him go to Israel for treatment.  This is
consistent with the urgings of the US, Israeli, UK and German
governments. (MHN 1/15/96)


End of Volume 22 Issue 88