BOSTON -- International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an anti-nuclear advocacy group recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is not 'really contributing to peace' and its co-founder has ignored repeated pleas to help imprisoned Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, the dissident's son-in-law said.
Dr. Bernard Lown, the 64-year-old Harvard instructor who founded the group with a Soviet doctor in 1980, turned down family pleas to help the scientist, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Efrem Yankelevich said Thursday.
'The say they are concerned with the fate of millions, so they cannot be concerned with the fate of one family,' said Yankelevich, who, like Lown, lives in Newton.
'But I think that if you are not concerned about one, you cannot be concerned about millions.
'I really was very much disappointed by the attitude of this organization. I don't think they are really contributing to peace,' Yankelevich said.
Edward Lozansky, head of the Andrei Sakharov Institute in Washington, took a similar stance.
'When I heard about this (award), I was dismayed and angry. It's a disgrace. Soviet propaganda very skillfully uses this group for its own purposes,' Lozansky said.
The ailing Sakharov, father of the Soviet nuclear bomb who later became a human rights activist, has been under internal exile and has been on at least two hunger strikes to protest the treatment he and his wife have received at his government's hands.
Lown and Dr. Yevgeny Chazov, 56, a top-ranking member of the Soviet medical hierarchy, will receive $225,000 in prize money in Oslo, Norway on Dec. 10.
Lown could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman for the organization denied the charges, which were also expressed in a Wall Street Journal editorial.
'The idea that the Sakharov family has been petitioning the IPPNW for five years is incorrect... No request (has) come across this desk,' said Conn Nugent, the group's executive director.
Nugent said the family's request for aid for Sakharov might have been made through other channels.