WASHINGTON — Soviet officials charged Friday that a former diplomat and his family who disappeared from the Soviet Embassy in Morocco five years ago are apparently being held in the United States "by force, against their will," despite their desire to return to their native country.
Evgeni Kutovoy, a counselor at the Soviet Embassy in Washington, accused U.S. officials of "flagrant violations of basic human rights" for allegedly refusing to allow ex-Morocco embassy first secretary Anatoly Bogaty, his wife, Larissa, and two teen-age sons to meet with Soviet representatives to discuss their repatriation.
State Department officials insist that they have done nothing to block Soviet access to the Bogatys, who they say defected to the United States in 1982. They assert that the family has expressed no interest in returning to the Soviet Union.
"The Bogatys are free to come and go as they please and call whomever they wish," said Phyllis Oakley, a department spokesman.
Soviet officials said the case is of sufficient concern that Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze raised it last month with Secretary of State George P. Shultz during their arms control discussions in Washington. Although it was not resolved, they said, it will not interfere with a major nuclear missile agreement expected to be reached this fall.
A 'Stark Contradiction'
Nevertheless, Kutovoy said at a press conference, the case is in "stark contradiction with the numerous pronouncements by U.S. authorities on their commitment to the respect for human rights . . . ."
He said that the Soviet government heard nothing from the Bogatys after their disappearance Sept. 22, 1982, from Rabat, Morocco, until the embassy in Washington received a call last month from the diplomat's wife.
In 1984, he said, the Soviet Embassy was told by the United States only that the Bogatys were living in this country and did not wish to speak to Soviet officials. But in the call last Sept. 15, he said, "Larissa Bogaty left no doubt in our minds as to the sincere and unambiguous nature of her statement concerning the desire of her family to leave for their homeland."
Kutovoy said Larissa Bogaty gave the Soviet Embassy a phone number, but when officials called back several hours later to arrange a meeting, the number had been disconnected. The number was listed in Falls Church, Va.
Despite repeated requests to the State Department to put them in touch with the family, he said, U.S. officials have refused and "claimed that the Bogatys allegedly did not wish to meet with representatives of the Soviet Embassy.
"The embassy has to have the opportunity to hear whatever decision the Bogaty family has made from them personally," Kutovoy said. " . . . Until we get a personal meeting with the Bogatys, the Soviet side is justified in assuming that these Soviet citizens are being held in the United States by force, against their will."
Kutovoy said that U.S. officials' intransigence has taken a particular toll on Bogaty's father, who was under "severe psychological stress" because of separation from his son's family. He said that Bogaty would not be prosecuted if he returned and that an education would be provided for his children.
However, Oakley said that the State Department is only respecting the family's wishes. "The Bogatys are aware that the Soviet Embassy is interested in meeting with them but, let me repeat, the decision is entirely up to them, and they are free to do so if they wish."