Natan SharanskyMembers of Anatoly Shcharansky’s family were allowed to see the Jewish Prisoner of Conscience last week for the first time in 18 months, his brother Leonid told Anatoly’s wife Avital by phone from Moscow last Thursday night. Leonid said that his brother’s physical condition had worsened and that the KGB was trying to break him.

Their objective, he said, was to try and get Anatoly to confess that he was really an American spy, the charge on which he was found guilty by a Soviet court and sentenced to 13 years in prison and labor camps. The 33-year-old. Anatoly had been in a labor camp where he had collapsed from hunger and was hospitalized for 33 days. Last November he was transferred to the notorious Chistopol Prison, 500 miles east of Moscow, where conditions are more severe than in the labor camps.

Avital said her husband’s condition was “critical,” after having spent the past half year in solitary confinement on a starvation diet in the labor camp. She said the only way to save Anatoly, according to what Leonid had told her, was for “everybody throughout the world to scream out loud and get the Soviet authorities to listen.”