Ki­wis ex­pel US diplo­mat over blocked probe

The Star Malaysia - - World -

A US diplo­mat has been ex­pelled from New Zealand af­ter Wash­ing­ton re­fused to waive diplo­matic im­mu­nity so po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing a se­ri­ous crime could ques­tion him, of­fi­cials said.

De­tails of the al­leged crime have not been re­vealed but lo­cal me­dia re­ported that the diplo­mat left the South Pa­cific na­tion last week suf­fer­ing a bro­ken nose and black eye.

Prime Min­is­ter Bill English la­belled the US knock­back on im­mu­nity re­gret­table and said he ex­pected Amer­i­can au­thor­i­ties to carry out their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We ex­pect all diplo­mats here to obey our law and if it’s bro­ken we’d ex­pect our po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate,” English told re­porters.

“We re­gret that they didn’t give us a waiver on im­mu­nity but they didn’t and now it’s in the hands of their au­thor­i­ties.”

Ear­lier, For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Mur­ray McCully said he was “dis­ap­pointed” at the US re­fusal and in re­sponse had asked for the man at the cen­tre of the po­lice probe to be with­drawn from New Zealand.

He said Welling­ton’s am­bas­sador in Wash­ing­ton had raised the is­sue with US of­fi­cials.

Po­lice said they were called to an in­ci­dent in Lower Hutt, on Welling­ton’s out­skirts, in the early hours of March 12, which “in­volved an in­di­vid­ual from the US em­bassy in Welling­ton”.

By the time they ar­rived the per­son had left the scene and no ar­rests were made.

At­tempts to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate hit a diplo­matic brick wall. How­ever, po­lice said they still re­garded the case as ac­tive.

McCully said for­eign af­fairs of­fi­cials re­layed a po­lice re­quest to waive im­mu­nity but their US coun­ter­parts re­fused.

Lo­cal me­dia named the diplo­mat as Colin White and said he left Welling­ton with his wife and chil­dren.

TVNZ, which broke the story, re­ported that White was a tech­ni­cal at­tache who had been work­ing closely with New Zealand’s in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, the GCSB.

A spokesman for the US em­bassy said they were “com­mu­ni­cat­ing with New Zealand au­thor­i­ties”.

Diplo­matic im­mu­nity, for­malised in the 1961 Vienna Con­ven­tion, means for­eign en­voys are pro­tected from lo­cal law en­force­ment in the coun­try to which they are posted. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.