REFUGEES: No Asylum for Merab

As the six dour Russian diplomats hustled their charge through Kennedy Airport, they were met by a determined contingent of U.S. State Department and immigration officials. Their friend, the Russians assured the Americans, did not want asylum and had chosen to return home; but, no, he could not confirm this personally. Merab Kurashvili, 36, an engineering teacher doing postgraduate work at the University of California at Berkeley, stood nervously watching, his throat and wrists bandaged. Without an interview, the Americans replied, Kurashvili would not be permitted to board a waiting Aeroflot jet. The Soviets yielded—perhaps in part because the U.S.,...

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