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|16th October 2004, 09:46 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2002
British Ambassador to Uzbekistan gets the boot
Envoy in human rights row dismissed
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Friday October 15, 2004
Britain's ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, was dismissed from his post last night as the Foreign Office claimed its ministers and his colleagues no longer had confidence in him.
The move ends a 15-month battle between London and their outspoken envoy to Tashkent. A close relative of Mr Murray said last night that he intended to leave the Foreign Office and sue his former employers for personal injury, as a result of the stress he has endured.
Mr Murray has alleged that the UK and US remained silent over Uzbekistan's human rights record, where torture is practised as a routine investigation technique, because US forces were using an airbase vital for launching Operation Enduring Freedom in neighbouring Afghanistan.
"Craig has been withdrawn as an ambassador," said an FO spokesman last night. "This was a decision taken by senior FO management." He said "ministers had been informed" but were not involved in the move, which was "taken by the administration" and based "purely on personnel matters".
The spokesman added: "It was felt that it was not possible for him to carry out his full range of duties and there was not the confidence and cooperation [that there should be] between ministers, colleagues and Craig."
He said Mr Murray would move on to other FO duties.
Mr Murray's criticism of Uzbekistan has embarrassed London and Washington.
In July the US was forced to withdraw part of its multi-million dollar aid package to the country partly because of the abuses the ambassador highlighted.
Uzbek president Islam Karimov was angered when the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, a friend of Mr Murray's, brought up a speech the envoy made on human rights abuses during one of their official meetings.
Mr Murray faced 18 disciplinary charges in July last year. The investigation into the charges - ranging from being drunk at work to issuing visas to local women for sex - were dismissed as unfounded. Mr Murray claims the charges caused him to have a nervous breakdown.
The sacking comes after a week in which Mr Murray's security clearance was withdrawn, and in which his criticism of the FO's use of information obtained by Uzbekistan under torture was leaked to the media in confidential documents.
A relative of Mr Murray said: "They pulled his security clearance because they could not find anything else to get rid of him with.
"They tried to get him last time on gross misconduct and failed, so have decided to get him this time"......
This case is yet another example of the hypocrisy and double standards that the pro-war camp in the UK are completely silent about. Those who are anti-war get accused of supporting Saddam if we dare to criticise the state of Iraq today whilst they nurture yet another fascist dictator who employs torture and repression against his population.
Our media have virtually completely ignored the torture and murder of muslims in that country. The treatment of people like Murray and Catherine Gunn is just a minor stain on the blood stained hands of the UK government. I fear for Mr Murray and his partner. I cannot see Blunkett allowing her a visa in which case she might have to stay and face the dreaded Uzbek secret police.
It`s a dangerous liaison to be sure.
I knew a guy at the British Embassy in Belgrade who was told to ditch his girlfriend because she was a Kosovo Serb and he handled various bits of paperwork related to the International Protectorate. In the end, when she got pregnant, he was told to choose between his love and his career. The latter lost.
Officially, as far as I understand it, British diplomats are supposed not to engage in intimate relations with the natives, for fear it may corrupt their better judgment.
This case is reality turned on its head. Mr Murray does his job properly and then gets the sack. Most people don't have a good word to say about bureaucrats. Here's one that actually seems to take the job seriously, next thing he knows, he's out the door. They have tried to make out that he was a bit dodgy. His crime was going to local nightclubs, finding himself a local girlfriend, and telling a little bit of truth.
What has he done wrong? More double standards from this useless government. Looks like Mr Murray will be joining Greg Dyke and Gavin Davis on "Gilligans Island".
|16th October 2004, 05:01 PM||#2|
Join Date: Sep 2004
A disgusting and hypocritical act by our government. I guess most of us could see it coming, but it is still one heck of a shame.
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