The wife of an American diplomate is wanted in the United Kingdom, after the woman allegedly killed a British teen in a wrong-way crash outside a U.S. spy base and then fled the country claiming diplomatic immunity.
What are the details?
The Daily Mail reported that Virginia native Anne Sacoolas, 42, is accused of driving on the wrong side of the road after pulling out of RAF Croughton air force base in Northampshire and fatally striking 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who was riding on his motorcycle in the correct lane.
British authorities say Sacoolas initially appeared to be cooperating with police, but then abruptly returned to the United States after being granted diplomatic immunity.
Harry’s grieving parents are demanding Sacoolas return to the U.K. to face justice in the death of their son, and have solicited the assistance of British officials.
The boy’s mother told the BBC that Sacoolas leaving was “such a dishonorable thing to do,” but explained, “We are not out to get her put behind bars. If that’s what the justice system ends up doing then we can’t stop that but we’re not out to do that, we’re out to try and get some peace for ourselves.”
On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters, “I hope that Anne Sacoolas will come back and will engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country,” saying U.K. officials had already been in contact with the U.S. ambassador in London.
Johnson added, “If we can’t resolve it, then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House.”
The BBC explained that “under the 1961 Vienna Convention, diplomates and their family members are immune from prosecution in their host country, so long as they are not nationals of that country. However, their immunity can be waived by the state that has sent them.”
According to Reuters, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in London released a statement on the situation, saying, “Any questions regarding a waiver of the immunity with regard to our diplomats and their family members overseas in a case like this receive intense attention at senior levels and are considered carefully given the global impact such decisions carry.”
The spokesperson added, “Immunity is rarely waived. The U.S. Embassy has been and will continue to be in close contact with appropriate British officials.”