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Diplomatic Immunity (Alleged Serious Offences)

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 18 June 2009

In 2008, ten serious offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic immunity were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. “Serious Offences” are defined as offences that would, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months or more imprisonment. Some 25,000 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom.

The table below lists those foreign missions whose diplomats allegedly committed serious offences and the type of offence from 2004-2008.

2004

Arranging Sham Marriages

Nigeria

1

Driving under the Influence of Alcohol

Angola

1

Austria

1

Luxembourg

1

Mozambique

1

Serbia and Montenegro

1

Spain

1

Indecent Assault

Congo

1

Saudi Arabia

1

Indecent Assault on Child

Saudi Arabia

1

Robbery and Assault

Angola

1

2005

Actual Bodily Harm

Jordan

1

Assault (Domestic Violence)

Saudi Arabia

1

Dangerous Driving

Turkey

1

Driving under the Influence of Alcohol

Angola

1

Egypt

1

Ghana

1

Lebanon

1

Peru

1

Russia

1

Saudi Arabia

1

Harassment

Turkey

1

Theft (Shoplifting)

Egypt

1

Equatorial Guinea

1

Zambia

1

Theft and Robbery (of Motor Vehicle, Driving without Insurance)

South Africa

1

2006

Attempted Robbery

South Africa

1

Deception (Going Equipped to Commit)

Nigeria

1

Driving under the Influence of Alcohol

Kazakhstan

2

Belarus

1

Côte d’Ivoire

1

Kuwait

1

Malawi

1

Oman

1

Saudi Arabia

1

South Africa

1

Driving without Insurance

Pakistan

1

Failure to Stop for Police/Driving without Insurance and License

Kazakhstan

1

Robbery

South Africa

1

Theft (Obtaining Property by Deception)

Ghana

1

2007

Dangerous Driving

Russia

1

Domestic Assault/Actual Bodily Harm

South Africa

1

Driving without insurance

Ghana

1

Driving without insurance and driving under the influence of alcohol

Malawi

2

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Belarus

1

Georgia

1

Hungary

1

Israel

1

Italy

1

Other*

1

Kazakhstan

1

Kuwait

1

Moldova

1

Nigeria

1

Peru

1

Saudi Arabia

1

Turkmenistan

1

Misrepresentation (obtaining insurance by deception)

Côte d’Ivoire

1

Robbery and Actual Bodily Harm

Guyana

1

2008

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Cameroon

1

Kyrgyzstan

1

Morocco

1

Mozambique

1

Other*

1

Saudi Arabia

1

Thailand

1

Uganda

1

Vietnam

1

Theft (Shoplifting)

Cameroon

1

*Details have been withheld because the number of diplomatic personnel in the mission(s) concerned is so small that disclosure would lead to the identification of the individual concerned. This would breach the data protection rights of that individual—in particular, the first data protection principle, namely, that personal data should be processed fairly. This is because the offences are only alleged to have been committed and have not been proven in a court of law. In these circumstances, section 40 (2) and (3) of the Freedom of Information Act confer an absolute exemption on disclosure of this information.