Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging immediate action to hold individuals accountable for brutal attacks on peaceful protestors outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

Text of the letter follows.

May 17, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Tillerson:

I am writing concerning the brutal attack on individuals outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. yesterday. Video evidence indicates men dressed in suits viciously beat multiple individuals, throwing them to the ground and kicking them in the head.  Numerous news reports indicate these individuals were members of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail who accompanied him on his official state visit this week.  Alarmingly, this behavior is indicative of the broad crackdowns on political activists, journalists and religious freedom in Turkey that have greatly harmed Turkish democracy in recent years.

To send a clear message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated, I ask that you immediately look into this matter and bring all appropriate criminal charges before these individuals leave the United States.  Agents of foreign governments should never be immune from prosecution for felonious behavior.  Above all else, they should never be permitted to violate the protections afforded by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.