UK: Saudi with diplomatic immunity implicated in human trafficking

UK: Saudi with diplomatic immunity implicated in human trafficking
2 min read
22 July, 2016
UK's foreign office revealed a Saudi official was accused of bringing a slave to London, among other "serious and significant offences" committed by individuals with diplomatic protection in the UK.
The Saudi Embassy in London [AFP]
A statement released by the UK's foreign office revealed that a Saudi official was accused of bringing a slave to London, among other "serious and significant offences" committed by individuals with diplomatic protection in the UK.

The statement, which was published on Thursday, listed 11 offences that were allegedly committed by people protected from prosecution by diplomatic immunity in 2015.

Saudi Arabia accounted for two of the offences, which were "Human trafficking into the UK for the purposes of exploitation, specifically domestic servitude" and "human trafficking; slavery or servitude/ forced or compulsory labour".

The New Arab contacted the UK's Foreign Office for further details on the allegations and whether action was taken against the Saudi official, but they declined to comment on individual cases.

The Foreign Office has issued the following statement:

"The UK Government expects all foreign diplomats to abide by UK laws at all  times and we take a firm line with diplomatic missions and international organisations whose diplomats commit offences. All alleged offences are investigated by the police or other law enforcement agencies. In the case of the most serious alleged offences, the diplomat in question would be immediately withdrawn from the country unless they cooperate with any investigation under a waiver of immunity granted by their mission."
Saudi Arabia accounted for two offences in 2016 committed by people with dipomatic immunity in the UK
While the UK is able to ask other governments to waive diplomatic immunity, particularly in serious cases, when this is refused the offender can be asked to leave the country. In effect, however, this means that offenders are able to leave the UK without facing trial.

The annual list of alleged offences by diplomatic staff had revealed in 2015 that a Saudi official was allegedly in posession of a gun, while another was accused of having developed malware for online fraud.

Data from the UK's Foreign Office also reveals that in 2015 international bodies and diplomatic missions amassed almost £500,000 in unpaid parking fines in London.