Volume 33, Issue 3 (May 1988)
Alleged Tampering with Mail of Dr. Yelena Bonner
In July 1985, the U.S. Congress requested that the FBI Laboratory examine five postcards written by Dr. Yelena Bonner, wife of Dr. Andrei Sakharov, noted Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Relatives residing near Boston, Massachusetts, claimed that Soviet authorities were tampering with the mail in an effort to deceive those concerned about the fates of the Sakharovs, who were living in exile in Gorki, U.S.S.R. Examination under oblique, infrared, and ultraviolet illumination revealed several alterations to one postcard, which, when considered with other facts, indicated that the mail had been tampered with to conceal the involuntary hospitalization of Dr. Sakharov, who was being force-fed, to end one of his periodic hunger strikes. The questioned postcard became the object of considerable interest and was the subject of congressional testimony by the author on 18 March 1986.