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U.S. denies Britain's extradition request for diplomat's wife

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U.S. denies Britain's extradition request for diplomat's wife

 

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FILE PHOTO: Harry Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles poses in front of a banner outside the Buckingham Palace as people demonstrate during U.S. President Donald Trump's visit for NATO summit, in London, Britain December 3, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has declined Britain’s request for the extradition of a U.S. diplomat’s wife who was involved in a car crash last year that killed a British teenager, the State Department said on Thursday.

 

British prosecutors have requested the extradition of Anne Sacoolas over the crash last August in which 19-year-old Briton Harry Dunn was killed while riding his motorbike.

 

“At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the U.S. citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction,” a State Department representative said in a statement.

 

“If the United States were to grant the UK’s extradition request, it would render the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent,” the statement said.

 

Dunn’s family has said Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash near an air force base in central England used by the U.S. military.

 

Sacoolas was given diplomatic immunity and left Britain shortly after the accident. Her lawyer has said that she would not return voluntarily to Britain to possibly face jail for “a terrible but unintentional accident.”

 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Sacoolas was wrong to use diplomatic immunity to leave Britain and has urged U.S. President Donald Trump to reconsider the U.S. position.

 

Dunn’s parents met Trump at the White House in October. Trump hoped to persuade them meet to Sacoolas, who was in the building at the same time, but they declined.

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-01-24
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15 minutes ago, cmarshall said:

She may not have had immunity, which would explain why she scarpered after telling the British police that she would not leave the country.  It is not clear that her husband, Jonathan Sacoolas, was actually a registered diplomat at the time of the accident.  The report is that she was driving on the wrong side of the road, so the fault would have been entirely hers.  If true, the State Department is lying.

 

I don't think there's any formal "registration" process that exclusively invokes or applies diplomatic immunity, as per the BBC report below.

 

And FWIW, American do, and always have, driven on the opposite side of the road than Britons do... But hopefully, they only do that when in their respective home countries!!!

 

Quote

 

Who else receives immunity?

Diplomatic immunity is by no means restricted to those named on the Diplomatic List from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Drivers, cooks and other support staff whose names do not appear but have been accredited to Britain ("the receiving state") have the same diplomatic status and immunity as those listed.

The level of immunity varies and depends on rank and "ranges from immunity from criminal and civil and administrative jurisdiction to immunity for official acts only", according to the Crown Prosecution Service.

 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-49984737

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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If the Uk does not like the diplomatic immunity concept they should withdraw from the Vienna convention. 

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How far does diplomatic immunity go?

It depends on your rank. Top diplomatic officers have full immunity, as do their deputies and families. That means ambassadors can commit just about any crime—from jaywalking to murder—and still be immune from prosecution. They can’t be arrested or forced to testify in court. (This category would probably include al-Madadi, who serves as third secretary in the Qatari embassy.) Lower-ranking officials have a weaker type of protection called “functional immunity.” These officials are covered only for crimes committed within the scope of their regular work responsibilities. If, for example, a consular official got into a fistfight during a meeting with a U.S. official, he would be protected from prosecution. If the fight occurred at a bar over the weekend, he would not. Service staff for an embassy or consulate, from the kitchen employees to the valets, have no immunity whatsoever.

 

 

 

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2010/04/how-far-does-diplomatic-immunity-go.html

 

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34 minutes ago, cmarshall said:

She may not have had immunity, which would explain why she scarpered after telling the British police that she would not leave the country.  It is not clear that her husband, Jonathan Sacoolas, was actually a registered diplomat at the time of the accident.  The report is that she was driving on the wrong side of the road, so the fault would have been entirely hers.  If true, the State Department is lying.

The Foreign Secretary stated in Parliament that the woman had diplomatic immunity

Under UK law this is sufficient evidence of immunity

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4 hours ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

I don't think there's any formal "registration" process that exclusively invokes or applies diplomatic immunity, as per the BBC report below.

 

Having an diplomatic passport doesn't grant you diplomatic immunity, you have to be registered as a diplomat in a certain country and the host country has to accept your diplomatic role. Then it is granted to you and your family depending on the level of your own diplomatic relation. Your immunity is so to say bound to the country that accepted it, if you go out for holiday etc you are no longer under diplomatic immunity.

 

Case earlier where germany arrested an iranian diplomatic that was based in austria on his holiday and then austria stripping him off his immunity: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45705799

 

 

Case above doesn't surprise me at all tho, germany for example never extradits their own citizen, diplomatic immunity or not. 

 

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13 hours ago, cleopatra2 said:

The Foreign Secretary stated in Parliament that the woman had diplomatic immunity

Under UK law this is sufficient evidence of immunity

You are probably correct.  However, I am way past believing anything a politician says anywhere!

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4 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

Perhaps it is time the concept of diplomatic immunity is reviewed. As a diplomat, I could get plastered, drive a car, mow down a few pedestrians, and walk away scot free.

Certain nationalities do abuse diplomatic immunity. I'm wondering how many diplomatic bags are used to courier drugs.

I am sure all these things happen and more. But consider the alternative.

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