Washington, 4 December 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. State Department has accused Turkmenistan of violating international law in its arrest of an American citizen in connection with the attempt to kill Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (pictured). The State Department said it deplores the violence surrounding the reported assassination bid, but expressed concern about the conduct of the investigation, in which large numbers of people have been detained.
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker criticized Turkmenistan's treatment of Leonid Komarovsky, a dual U.S.-Russian citizen, who was detained as part of the investigation a day after the 25 November attack.
Reeker said the U.S. is concerned that the American embassy in Ashgabat did not receive immediate notification and was not allowed timely consular access to Komarovsky, who is described as a businessman.
The AP quotes Komarovsky's family as saying he had been staying with a Turkmen friend, Guvanch Dzhumaev, who has been identified by Turkmen authorities as a chief suspect in the assassination attempt.
Niyazov was unhurt in the attempt, in which gunmen opened fire on his motorcade as he was travelling to work in Ashgabat.
The government accuses four exiled former government officials of masterminding the attempt. Turkmen officials say 23 people have been arrested in connection with the attack -- more than half of them foreigners, including Chechens, Turks, and an Armenian.