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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > December
Press Statement
Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 31, 2002


Continuing Arrests and Abuses in Turkmenistan

The United States is deeply concerned by the conduct of authorities in Turkmenistan following the November 25 attack on the motorcade of Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov.  While we recognize the Government of Turkmenistan's right to apprehend those involved in a violent attack on its president, we cannot condone actions that violate international practice and the standards of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, of which Turkmenistan is a member.  The Government of Turkmenistan has conducted summary trials of the alleged perpetrators of the attack, without due process of law.  Further, we have credible reports of torture and abuse of suspects.  Turkmenistani authorities have arrested relatives of opposition members and civil society activists who have no apparent direct link to the assault.  The authorities have also repeatedly refused to respect the immunities and privileges of embassies and diplomats in Turkmenistan.

 

The United States calls on the Government of Turkmenistan to accord due process to all those arrested.  The international community expects that conduct of the trials of the accused will be in accordance with Turkmen law, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe standards, and international practice.  We urge the Government of Turkmenistan to respect its commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe by allowing a mission to travel to Turkmenistan to investigate abuses, as called for under the Vienna and Moscow mechanisms of that organization.

 

The United States also calls on the Government of Turkmenistan to abide by its international obligations with respect to consular notification and access for foreign nationals who have been arrested.  The United States once again expresses its particular concern about the case of Leonid Komarovsky, an American citizen detained after the attacks.  Since mid-December, the Government of Turkmenistan has failed to act upon repeated U.S. requests for prompt and regular consular access to Mr. Komarovsky. 


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