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Foreign diplomat escapes action over rape allegations due to diplomatic immunity

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A foreign diplomat was thrown out of the UK amid allegations of two rapes and an attempted rape, the government has revealed.

The individual, who also faced an allegation of malicious communication, was unable to be prosecuted because they held diplomatic immunity.

A Foreign Office request for that protection to be waived was rejected by the individual’s country or state, leading to them being expelled from the UK.

Details of the individual’s country or state have been withheld because “the number of diplomatic personnel in the mission concerned is so small that disclosure could lead to inaccurate speculation that other members of the mission were involved”, the Foreign Office said.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office
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Around 23,000 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the UK

The case was revealed in a written statement to parliament by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, which disclosed 12 serious and significant offences were allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic immunity in the UK in 2017.

These include a Cambodian diplomat alleged to be in possession of a firearm with intent to injure, an Egyptian diplomat accused of blackmail, and a sexual assault allegation against an Algerian official.

Five further allegations against other diplomats were driving-related.

Around 23,000 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the UK under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Foreign Office defines serious offences as those which could carry a prison sentence of more than a year.

Mr Hunt said in the statement: “The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law. We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously.

“When the police bring instances of alleged criminal conduct to our attention, we ask the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic immunity where appropriate.

“For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we request the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat.”

congestion charge
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Foreign embassies owe more than £110m in unpaid Congestion Charge fees

In another written statement on Tuesday, Mr Hunt later revealed the US embassy still owes close to £12m in outstanding fines from London’s Congestion Charge zone.

American officials have racked up the biggest bill, with the Japanese embassy the next biggest debtor with an outstanding £8m and the Nigerian high commission owing £6.7m.

In total, embassies and international organisations owe a total of more than £110m in unpaid Congestion Charge fees since its introduction in February 2003 until the end of last year.

The long-running dispute over the Congestion Charge has seen the US embassy, and many others, argue the fee is a tax and so covered by diplomatic immunity.

Mr Hunt also disclosed embassies and international organisations in London still owe a total of £271,175 in unpaid parking fines for 2017.

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