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Father Gleb Yakunin: Trial

Volume 413: debated on Monday 6 October 1980

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asked Her Majesty's Government:On what grounds a Foreign Office representative and members of the British press were prevented from attending the recent "trial" of Father Gleb Yakunin in spite of the Soviet Union's claim that it was "fair and open"; whether the charges of "anti-Soviet activity" were consistent with drawing the Soviet Government's attention to breaches of their promises about human rights in the Helsinki Final Act; by whom he was defended; when his appeal against the sentence of 10 years' hard labour and exile will be heard; and whether a special effort will again be made to have an official observer from the European Community present at the hearing.

A member of our Embassy in Moscow who attempted to gain admittance to Father Yakunin's trial was turned away on the grounds that the courtroom was full. The Government's view is that the sentencing of Father Yakunin once again calls into question the seriousness of the Soviet Union's commitment to implement the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. We understand that Father Yakunin was defended by Mr. Leonid Popov. The Government have no confirmation that Father Yakunin has lodged an appeal or that there is to be a further hearing.House adjourned at twenty-four minutes past ten o'clock.