Court Won’t Halt Ship With Soviet Sailor
The U.S. Court of Appeals today denied a request by Ukrainian-American groups to temporarily block the departure of a Soviet freighter on the Mississippi River so that U.S. officials could interview once again a sailor who jumped ship twice but later said he was not seeking political asylum.
On Monday, the Reagan Administration argued before the three-judge panel that an international incident could result if it tried to seize the sailor and hold the Soviet ship in U.S. waters. A government attorney said judges should not involve themselves in political issues such as foreign policy.
To ask the secretary of state to prevent the Soviet freighter, the Marshal Koniev, from leaving its berth near New Orleans until the 22-year-old sailor, Miroslav Medvid, is asked again whether he wants asylum in the United States could “cause grave harm to other parties and to the public interest,” argued C. Richard Lawrence, an assistant U.S. attorney.
Disputes Force Claim
Attorneys for the Ukrainian-American Bar Assn., which sued the government after Immigration and Naturalization Service officials returned Medvid to the Soviet freighter Oct. 29, disputed a government’s claim that force would have to be used.
Andrew Fylypovych, one of the association’s attorneys, said the Administration had asked to board the ship previously and received permission to do so. “They can ask again,” he said.