A man who was sentenced to seven years in a labor camp and two years of exile for protesting the internal exile of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei D. Sakharov has been freed, a dissident source said Wednesday.
Alexander Podrabinek, an editor of the human rights journal Express-Chronicle, said Vazif Meilanov, a 50-year-old mathematician, was freed from exile in Yakutia in Siberia by an clemency order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the country's highest executive body.He said Meilanov, who was convicted of hooliganism, had not asked for clemency.
Sakharov publicly raised Meilanov's case when he visited the United States last month, noting that he was free and living in Moscow once more while Meilanov still was in exile.
In January 1980, shortly after Sakharov was sent into exile in the closed city of Gorky for protesting the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, Meilanov held a one-man protest in his home city of Makhachala on the Caspian Sea.
He wore a sign around his neck saying, "Free Sakharov."
Podrabinek said Meilanov had arrived in Moscow, but it was not certain yet whether he would try to settle in the capital or return to his aging parents in Makhachala.