ANOTHER prominent Soviet Christian has been , given a harsh prison sentence after a three-day trial in Leningrad last week. : Vladimir Poresh, a 31-year-old Orthodox . layman and a member of the unofficial Christian ; seminar in Leningrad, was sentenced to five years in a labour camp and three years internal exile liar allegedly slandering the Soviet state. He was charged under Article 70 of the Soviet Criminal . Code which deals with "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda."
Further evidence that the authorities' crackdown on all forms of dissent is continuing Came with the news that the founder of the Christian seminars, Alexander Ogorodnikov, had ' been transferred to Kalinin, a provincial town, Where he will also stand trial. Neither the date of • the trial nor the precise charges are yet known but his mother has been told that he will also be charged under Article 70.
Keston College, the centre for the study of reli
mion and communism, said that it was not unusual or the authorities to try dissidents whose cases have been widely publicised in the west in
provincial courts III Must to minimise coverage by foreign correspondents.
Ogorodnikov has already served one sentence for his activites. He was tried on January 10 last year on charges of "Parasitism" and sentenced to one year in a labour camp. He was not released, but moved and further detailed for questioning on the Poresh case.
Questioning of witnesses is continuing on the cases of imprisoned orthodox priests Fr Dimitri Dudko and Fr Gleb Yakunin, and or orthodox layman Viktor Kapitanchuk, who, with Fr Gleb, was a founded-member of the Christian Committee for the Defence of Believers rights in the USSR. Human rights activist Viktor Nekipelov, 52, also went on trial this week in the town of Vladimir.
Last week the Rev Georgi Vins, a Baptist leader exiled from the Soviet Union last year, said in London that the number of Baptist ministers in prison in Russia had risen from 35 to 60 since January.
He said he supported a British boycott of the Olympics.