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Slovakia: U.S. Helsinki Concerned About Threats To Democratization

Washington, 28 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Helsinki Commission says it is concerned about "escalating threats to the process of democratization in Slovakia," including the bomb attack last month on the home of parliamentarian Frantisek Gaulieder.

Four U.S. members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe voiced their concern in a letter to Slovak Parliament Chairman Ivan Gasparovic. They called on Gasparovic to ensure an immediate, successful and credible investigation into the December 6 bombing of Gaulieder's home and the swift prosecution of those responsible. The letter notes that Gasparovic's political party holds the portfolio for the government's security, police and investigative forces.

The U.S. commissioners say a thorough investigation will go a long way toward restoring confidence in democratic reform in Slovakia. Those who signed the letter include commission co-chairmen Christopher Smith, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey and Senator Alfonse D'Amato of New York).

The commissioners are also concerned about the political treatment of Gaulieder. They say he was removed from parliament in a manner inconsistent with European norms that Slovakia has pledged to uphold, and they asked Gasparovic to seek Gaulieder's immediate reinstatement.

The U.S. Helsinki Commission is a U.S. government agency responsible for monitoring and reporting to the U.S. Congress on the implementation of the human rights accords first agreed to by European and North American nations at Helsinki, Finland in 1975. More than 50 nations are now bound by the agreements.