Sudanese diplomat accused of groping woman in New York bar summoned to Khartoum
A member of the Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations in New York, Hassan Idriss Ahmed Salih (36), has been recalled to Khartoum after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 23-year-old woman in a New York bar on Sunday morning.
This is the second incident in the Big Apple involving a Sudanese diplomat this year, and the Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs has ordered a full investigation.
The alleged sexual assault occurred between a man and a woman customer at Bar None on Third Avenue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at about 2.30 am.
New York’s WPIX-TV as well as several international media outlets and newspapers reported on Monday that after the woman claimed that Salih had fondled her breasts and her buttocks, he was initially held by the bar’s security guard, who handed him over to officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD).
While the officers were questioning him, Salih made a dash for freedom, however the officers pursued, apprehended him, and transferred him to a police cruiser. It was then that he reportedly revealed his identity as a Sudanese diplomat, and claimed diplomatic immunity. Salih was handcuffed and transferred to the 9th Precinct stationhouse where investigators confirmed his identity and status.
Salih is listed as a Second Secretary on the website of the Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations. In May, the Committee on NGOs of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the intergovernmental body responsible for granting consultative status to NGOs, elected Salih by acclamation, on behalf of the Group of African States, as its Vice-Chair (see video below)..
In terms of the Vienna Convention, diplomats are given immunity from the host nation’s laws and ‘must not be liable to any form of arrest or detention’.
The New York police therefore had no alternative but to release Salih, however reliable sources have now confirmed to Radio Dabanga that he has been recalled to Khartoum in disgrace to ‘face the music’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “There have been allegations of a violation of ethics and good conduct by a member of the United Nations Permanent Mission of Sudan to the UN in New York.”
A brief press statement by the Ministry’s Department of Information yesterday acknowledges that "there have been allegations of a violation of ethics and good conduct by a member of the United Nations Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations in New York”.
The statement says that “the Mission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will proceeded immediately to investigate the facts and to investigate with the relevant diplomat about the charge against him, in accordance with the relevant law and regulations.”
The Ministry’s statement concludes that it “takes very seriously any charge of violating the rules of professional conduct and ethics of public service”.
On January 9 this year, another Sudanese diplomat, Mohammad Abdalla Ali, was charged by New York police with sexual abuse and forcible touching after he rubbed against a woman on a train as it left Grand Central station. Ali was also freed once he proved his diplomatic status provided diplomatic immunity.
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