|Lawrence Journal, Kansas 13.11.1978|
Tass covering trespass trial
BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) - It seems such a simple case - 19 people standing trial on trespassing charges. But the Soviet Union's interest in a folksinger has made it an international affair.
The Soviets call folksinger Dena Reed a freedom fighter. And the Soviet news agency Tass is covering the trial - saying Reed's only offense was his "active struggle" for political prisoners in the United States.
To most Minnesotans, he's just one of 19 people being tried in Wright County court here in an Oct. 29 protest against a 427-mile power line stretching from North Dakota to Minnesota.
The power line has prompted many protests - from farmers who say their property rights are being violated, and from environmentalists. Construction on the line has been completed, although it won't begin carrying electricity until next spring.
But it's Reed, not the power line, that concerns the Soviets, in what appears to be a counterattack on President Carter's human rights campaign.
Several major Russian artists telegraphed Carter to protest Reed's arrest, Tass reported Saturday. The White House says it hasn't received the telegram, and would have no comment.
The telegram, Tass reported, said: "Together with all people of good will, we express our indignation over the act of arbitrariness against Dean Reed. We hope, Mr. President, that you will use your influence to achieve the release of the courageous fighter for human rights."
And the Soviet youth newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, printed Reed's photograph, accompanied by a story headlined: "He sang for us."
Reed, 40, first became popular in the Soviet Union after he moved to East Germany in the 1960s and began apearing in various Soviet cities. He now lives in Studio City, Calif.