In 1986, After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Natan Sharansky was released.
The amnesty deal was arranged by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan at a summit meeting three months earlier. Sharansky was imprisoned for his campaign to win the right for Russian Jews, officially forbidden to practice Judaism, to emigrate from the USSR to Israel.
Convicted of treason and agitation, Soviet authorities also labeled him an American spy. After his release, he immigrated to Israel, where he was given a hero’s welcome.
Later, as a member of the Knesset, he was an outspoken defender of Russian Jews.