October 25, 2012
The head of an international body that will monitor the U.S. elections next month protested to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday after Texas’ attorney-general warned that any international observer who approaches a polling station in the state risks criminal prosecution.
“The threat of criminal sanctions … is unacceptable,” said Janez Lenarcic, the Slovenian diplomat who heads the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), a part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections,” he said in a statement. It added that he “shared his concerns in a letter” to Clinton.
Lenarcic was responding to a letter sent by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to the ODIHR Tuesday informing it that “groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”
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