09ASTANA381, KAZAKHSTAN: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES PEACE CORPS CASE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA381 2009-03-03 10:30 2011-08-30 01:44 SECRET Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7912
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHNP RUEHPW
RUEHROV
DE RUEHTA #0381/01 0621030
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 031030Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4791
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1291
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0674
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0366
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1377
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0852
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0768

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 000381 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, CA/OCS 
FRANKFURT FOR REGIONAL CONSULAR OFFICER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/03/2034 
TAGS: PGOV PREL CASC KZ
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN:  AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES PEACE CORPS CASE 
WITH PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION HEAD MUSIN 
 
REF: A. ASTANA 0373 
     B. ASTANA 0175 
     C. ASTANA 0135 
     D. ASTANA 0055 
     E. 08 ASTANA 2576 
     F. 08 ASTANA 2410 (NOTAL) 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland, 1.4 (b) and (d) 
 
1. (S) SUMMARY:  The Ambassador met with Presidential 
Administration head Aslan Musin on March 3 to discuss the 
criminal case against Peace Corps volunteer Anthony Sharp. 
Musin said the case is a small issue and agreed we should 
avoid it becoming a major bilateral irritant.  However, he 
maintained that Sharp had, in fact, committed violations of 
the law, and rejected the notion that the case is a political 
provocation.   He nevertheless expressed concern about 
Sharp's situation - acknowledging that his family must be 
very worried -- and said he hoped everything works out for 
him.  Several hours after the Musin meeting, the MFA's Talgat 
Kaliyev requested his own meeting with the Ambassador. 
Kaliyev told the Ambassador that Foreign Minister Tazhin was 
upset with the results of the Musin meeting.  The Ambassador 
should not have given Musin non-papers stating we believe 
Sharp was caught up in a political provocation and that he is 
innocent of the most serious charges against him, Kaliyev 
contended.  He urged the Ambassador to take a different 
approach with President Nazarbayev.   The Ambassador 
explained that he met with Musin at the recommendation of 
another senior official -- State Secretary Saudabayev -- and 
that it is important Musin is fully briefed because he is 
close to the President.  END SUMMARY. 
 
SHARP CASE IMPORTANT TO BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP 
 
2. (C) The Ambassador met with Presidential Administration 
head Aslan Musin on March 3 to discuss the case of Peace 
Corps volunteer Anthony Sharp.  The Ambassador briefed Musin 
on all the latest developments, including his discussions 
with Foreign Minister Tazhin (Ref A), and provided Musin with 
two non-papers on the case that we have previously given 
officials in the Presidential Administration.  He explained 
to Musin that we want the case resolved in accordance with 
the Kazakhstani government's commitment to us -- i.e., that 
Sharp be given a suspended sentence and deported -- and avoid 
having the case become a major irritant in the bilateral 
relationship, especially at the beginning of a new 
Administration. 
 
3. (C) Musin thanked the Ambassador for all the information. 
He said the Sharp case is a small issue, but it nevertheless 
is important for the bilateral relationship.  He agreed we 
should prevent it from becoming a major problem.  However, 
Musin maintained that according to the Kazakhstani 
government's information, Sharp has committed violations of 
the law -- though taking into account the bilateral 
relationship, a court did issue a decision to release him 
from jail.  Musin said the Ambassador's direct involvement in 
requesting the release played a big role in the decision to 
grant it.  He said he hoped Sharp's attorneys take all the 
Ambassador's points into account in their appeal of the 
verdict, and argued that a lot will depend on the 
professionalism of the lawyers.  Musin emphasized that the 
case will proceed with strict adherence to Kazakhstani law. 
 
MUSIN REJECTS NOTION OF "POLITICAL PROVOCATION" 
 
4. (S) Musin then noted that our non-papers stated that we 
believe Sharp was caught up in a political provocation.  He 
stressed that he disagreed with this characterization, 
saying, "I want you to explain what you mean, because I'm not 
aware of any political organizations in Kazakhstan that would 
entrap him."  The Ambassador responded that the non-paper was 
not aimed at criticizing Kazakhstan, that we recognize the 
importance of all Americans in Kazakhstan following the law, 
and admit that Sharp committed a legal violation by 
 
ASTANA 00000381  002 OF 003 
 
 
trespassing into a restricted area.  However, the explosives 
charge against Sharp looks very suspicious to us.  The 
Ambassador stressed that he is not a lawyer and thus does not 
want to argue the legal details, but said he would be pleased 
to provide Musin with the transcripts from Sharp's trial -- 
just like Musin gave us transcripts from another court case 
(i.e., the trial against Rakhat Aliyev).  These transcripts 
would make clear why we came to our point of view about the 
Sharp case. 
 
THE FATE OF A HUMAN BEING IS WHAT MATTERS 
 
5. (C) Musin agreed that becaus
e neither he nor the 
Ambassadors are lawyers, there was no need to get into the 
intricacies of the case; rather, what matters is the fate of 
a human being, who both sides are concerned about.  "I think 
we need to take advantage of all the possibilities in our law 
to provide him relief.  His family must be worried about 
him."  The Ambassador explained he had personally spoken to 
Sharp's parents.  They are concerned about their son, but 
agreed with the importance of keeping the case out of the 
media.  He then noted that the Peace Corps will soon be 
celebrating its 50th anniversary, and explained that there 
have not been many occasions in the organization's history 
when a single volunteer commanded such high-level political 
attention. 
 
6. (S) Musin responded, "I'm very aware of the Peace Corps' 
mission, and have plenty of information about the 
organization, from my own personal knowledge and from our 
organs" -- meaning the Committee for National Security (KNB) 
-- "and I understand the Peace Corps does noble deeds around 
the world, but incidents do happen, because people are 
people, and I don't want to generalize this situation. We are 
talking specifically about Sharp's fate, and I hope that 
everything works out for him."  "As for bilateral relations," 
he continued, "they will keep on developing, though lots will 
depend on how we interpret various incidents.  The highest 
levels of our government do not know of any political 
organization that wants to harm the bilateral relationship. 
We recognize the critical role the United States plays in 
world."   Musin added that the Kazakhstani government wants 
its laws observed not just by its own citizens, but also by 
foreigners residing in Kazakhstan.  The Ambassador said he 
agreed foreigners must obey local law.  He thanked Musin for 
his personal attention to the case. 
 
TAZHIN UNHAPPY WITH RESULTS OF MUSIN MEETING 
 
7. (S) Approximately two hours after the Musin meeting, the 
MFA's Talgat Kaliyev phoned to ask that the Ambassador meet 
with him later in the day.  At a late afternoon meeting on 
March 3, Kaliyev told the Ambassador that Foreign Minister 
Tazhin was unhappy with the results of the Musin meeting. 
Kaliyev said there was no reason to have given Musin the 
non-papers stating we believed the case against Sharp is a 
provocation, and that he is innocent of the most serious 
charges.  "You should have just expressed your thanks for 
Musin's assistance, and promised that this won't happen 
again.  This has complicated my own situation.  Please don't 
take this approach with President Nazarbayev."  "Musin called 
me directly," Kaliyev continued, "and asked why the issue of 
provocation was raised.  Maybe he expected to hear something 
different.  It's a question of mentality.  This is the kind 
of thing you can tell me, but not everyone." 
 
8. (C) "I'm not a judge or prosecutor," Kaliyev explained, "I 
just want to protect the bilateral relationship.  Tazhin put 
me personally in charge of the case.  I'm directly in touch 
with all the officials in Ridder and with Sharp's lawyers. 
Tazhin yelled at me about what happened today with Musin.  I 
promised him the U.S. Embassy will follow all the appropriate 
judicial procedures.  Please just follow my lead for the next 
few weeks." 
 
9. (C) The Ambassador responded that he had been asked to 
 
ASTANA 00000381  003 OF 003 
 
 
meet with Musin by another senior official -- i.e., by State 
Secretary Saudabayev -- and that he regretted that the Musin 
meeting might have caused a problem for Tazhin.  He also 
pushed back, noting that we had followed the MFA's guidance 
all along and had been very surprised when our agreement fell 
apart and Sharp was sentenced to prison.  The Ambassador 
nevertheless reiterated his thanks for the important role 
Tazhin played in getting Sharp released from jail.  It is 
important that Musin be briefed on the case too, given that 
he is close to Nazarbayev, he explained.   The Ambassador 
said his approach with Nazarbayev would of course be 
different, should Nazarbayev agree to his request for a 
meeting to discuss the case.  (NOTE:  As explained in Ref A, 
Tazhin recommended the Ambassador seek such a meeting with 
Nazarbayev.  END NOTE.) 
HOAGLAND

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