A rabbi and seven other Jewish leaders arrested during a demonstration outside the Soviet Embassy in August were fined $50 and sentenced to six months unsupervised probation after they were found guilty in D.C. Superior Court yesterday, according to court records.
A warrant was issued for another protester who did not attend the hearing because he was in Israel.
The protesters, members of the Soviet Jewry Action Committee, were arrested Aug. 29 for violating a District law that prohibits demonstrations within 500 feet of an embassy.
Those sentenced yesterday were among 132 protesters associated with the group who have been arrested since demonstrations began last May to dramatize the plight of Soviet Jews.
Five Washington area rabbis who were arrested during a demonstration at the embassy last month chose to spend 15 days in a federal prison in Petersburg, Va., after receiving similiar sentences.
Also yesterday, Judge Joseph M. Hannon gave the protesters 15-day suspended sentences, required each to pay $10 in court costs, and forbade them to demonstrate at the embassy in downtown Washington while they are on probation.
Glen Richter, 41, of New York, who also was scheduled to be sentenced yesterday, was on a two-day trip to Israel. Hannon issued a warrant for his arrest and set bond at $1,000, court documents show.
Protest organizers have argued that they are being singled out for prosecution by the U.S. attorney's office, which has not pressed charges against protesters at similar demonstrations at the South African Embassy.