The National Academy of Sciences charged yesterday that Argentina continues to persecute its dissident scientists by dismissing them from their jons without explanation and holding them in prison without trial.
In an unusual step, the academy said in a formal statement that it believes Argentina still pursues a practice of kidnaping prominent scientists whose political views differ radically from those of the military government of President Jorge Rafael Videla.
The 16-page statement described a trip to Argentina last month by three academy members (including a winner of the Nobel prize) to plead for the release of two Argentine scientists imprisoned without trial. While the three academy members were in Buenes Aires, a prominent blood chemist was abducted from her home by armed men in the middle of the night.
The statement said that Dr. Beatriz Iparraguirre de Weinstein, a hematologist known for her research in hemaglobin, was taken from her home at 3 a.m. March 8 by men dressed in multi.
"The men drove unmarked cars and identified themselves as being 'from the police'," the statement said. It was not for another week, "again at night," that Iparraguirre was freed on the streets of Buenos Aires.
Was the entire operation (as The Argentine government suggested to the academy members) a hoax to embarrass the government?. "It is difficult," the academy said, "to believe this scenario because the number of individuals who disappear, even now, continues to be large."
Calling on Argentina to release, as a first step, two scientists: Physicist Elena Sevilla and psychiatrist Claudio Bermann) held without trial, the academy also asked Argentina to investigate the whereabouts of the "desaparecidos" (the disappeared) who are no longer registered as Argentine citizens.
The academy also formally urged Uruguay to permit a pair of married scientists imprisoned in separate jails to apply for political exile to another country. The husband is Jose Luis Massera, a mathematician who was first secretary of the Uruguayan Communist Party before the military government outlawed the party two years ago.
In contrast to Argentina, the academy statement said, the government of Uruguay allowed academy members Christian Anfinsen (a Nobel laureate) and Robert Perry and staff member Jay Davenport to visit Massera in the military prison near La Libertad.
"That meeting, in the presence of the prison commandant and the escort.?