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US says standard procedures followed in Khobragade's arrest

December 17, 2013 10:36 IST

The United States on Tuesday virtually justified the reported strip search by New York police of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, saying "standard procedures" have been followed during her arrest.

"The diplomatic security, which is under the State Department purview, followed standard procedures during her arrest," State Department Deputy spokesperson Marie Harf told media persons at her daily news conference.

Harf was asked about media reports that 39-year-old Khobragade, the deputy consul general at New York, was strip searched and confined with drug addicts after her detention. Media reports also said she was subjected to DNA swabbing.

A 1999-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Khobragade was arrested as she was dropping her daughter to school and handcuffed in public on visa fraud charges before being released on a $250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

"Our diplomatic security folks followed our standard procedures, which I'm assuming are standard for diplomats because that's who our diplomatic security deals with," Harf said.

However, she referred the allegations regarding inhuman treatment of Khobragade to the USMarshalls, saying the Indian diplomat was handed over to them by the Diplomatic Security.

Harf said under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Indian Deputy Consul General enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of US courts only with respect to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions.

"There are different kinds of immunity. This isn't just in the US; it's all around the world. So in this case, she fell under that specific kind of immunity, and would be liable to arrest pending trial pursuant a felony arrest warrant," she said.

India has reacted sharply to Khobragade being arrested and handcuffed in public by summoning US Ambassador Nancy Powell and issuing a demarche in this regard.

Lalit K Jha IN Washington
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