Two of the world's best known political dissidents walked to freedom at Zurich's Kloten Airport in Switzerland on Saturday (18 December).
Two of the world's best known political dissidents walked to freedom at Zurich's Kloten Airport in Switzerland on Saturday (18 December). They were the Soviet dissident, Vladimir Bukovsky, and the Chilean Communist leader, Luis Corvalan.
SYNOPSIS: A German Lufthansa brought Luis Corvalan from Chile where he's been under arrest since the coup which overthrew the Government of President Allende in September 1973. President Allende was killed during the coup which established a right-wing military regime. The Russian Aeroflot aircraft carrying Bukovsky had already arrived and the swap took place under heavy security. Bukovsky had spent 11 years in Soviet jails labour camps and psychiatric hospitals. He had not known of his release until just before he was put on the plane for Switzerland. His crime in the 60's had been to expose the psychiatric punishment of dissidents.
Bukovsky told newsmen he'd been shifted from Vladimir prison to the KGB jail. Until he was told today about his release he considered himself still a prisoner. He said he was glad to be released and glad to be in Switzerland. He was glad Mr. Corvalan had been released. He hoped for the release of all political prisoners. Bukovsky said there were people in Vladimir jail and other prisons who were far more ill than him. They needed to be released more than he did. Bukovsky has been reported to be suffering from serious stomach trouble since 1971.
Bukovsky said he wanted to stay in Switzerland for the moment with his relatives, but he intended to go on with them to another country yet to be decided. The British Home Office has already agreed to grant him permanent residence should he wish to take it up. Senor Corvalan, aged 60, who has been detained for three years without trial, was accompanied by his wife.
His and Bukovsky's release was said by Swiss authorities to have been effected through the mediation of Switzerland and the United States. The Soviet Union said that Senhor Corvalan's release had been achieved because of a campaign by Communist countries.