Alexander Ginzburg, once one of the Soviet Union's most active dissident, has reportedly been charged with circulating anti-Soviet agitation and propoganda, which carries a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment and five more years of internal exile.
Ginzburg, 40, was arrested Feb. 3 by Soviet secret police and has been held since then in Kaluga prison, 80 miles from Moscow. He had administered a fund for jailed political prisoners and their families from book royalties of exile Noble Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The disclosure of the charges against Ginzburg came amid new signsd of strong Soviet displeasure with President Carter's human rights policy, as Soviet television refused to broadcast a traditional July 4 speech by U.S. ambassador Malcolm Toon because it contained a reference to human rights.
Before his arrest Ginzburg was a prominent member of the Moscow chapter of the Soviet group formed to monitor Moscow's complaince with human-rights provisions of the 1975 Helsinki accords. Soviet secret police arrests have decimated both the Moscow and Ukranian chapters of the Kelsinki watchers and a number of dissidents now either facing trial or have receoved harsh sentences.
Ginzburg's arrest in February prompted an expression of "concern" by the State Department in line with the Carter administration's human rights policy.
Shortly after that arrest, Solzhenitsyn retained Washington attorney Edward Bennett Williams to defend Ginzburg, but the Soviets refused to give him a visa to enter the country,
Dissident sources said they learned of the charge against Ginzburg from Valentin F, Turchin, another human rights activist, who was seized today outside his apartmet here, taken 80 miles to Kaluga to be questioned by the KGBsecurity police in cinnection with the Ginzburg case and then released White there, Turchin said later, he spoke with Ginzburg and learned of the charge.
Ginzburg has long been interwined with dissidence in the Soviet Union. In 1968 he was tried for anti-Soviet agitation in one of the most widely reported trials of that time and after his released in 1972, he served as a secretary to Solzhenitsyn. He also had been an assistant to Andrei Shakarov, the dissident physicist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
Turchin spoke out on behalf of Shakarov in 1973. Within months, he was fired from his job at a Moscow computer center. Turchin then founded a Moscow branch of Amnesty International, a London-based organization that seeks to aid political prisoners around the world. Soviet authorities do not recognize the group, so Turchin worked here on cases from such far away places as Sri Lanka and Mexico.
He told reporters that he had received an invitation to spend a year as a guest lecturer at Columbia University in New York last year but could not get an exit visa from the Soviet government.
Early this year the Soviet pressure on dissidents swelled from harrassment - such as searches and questioning - to a wave of arrest including Ginzburg's Yuri Orlov, founder of the Helsinki monitoring group, also has been arrested.
The Helsinki group had issued about 20 reports on human rights issues, ranging froim emigration and religious discrimination to the use of psychiatric hospitals for incarceration of dissidents.
A U.S. Embassy spokesman commenting on the Soviet refusal to televise Toon's speech, said Soviet officials who read the prepared text - a brief, a four-paragraph talk - "were somewhat disturbed by the paragraph on human rights and they declined to tape the speech as written."
U.S. ambassadors have given sdhort Independence Day speeches here since 1974.
The spokesman said that the Soviets suggested that Toon "may want to remove that part." Toon, a blunt-speaking career diplomat, refused. The embassy spokesman said: "As the U.S. ambassador on a national holiday, he believed he could not speak to the Soviet public without touching on the main thread of U.S. domestic and foreign policy."
Toon's prepared text had said:
"The United States of America itself was founded on the principle that each human being is endowed with fundamental and inalienable rights which cannot be arbitrarily infringed or removed by government authorities.
"But we recognized, more than those who watch us from afar, that we are not prefect. We recognized as well that a mna cannot live up to his ideals, however, if he ignores them. Americans will continue to state publicly their belief in human rights and their hope that violations of these rights wherever they occur, will end."