Britain formally requests extradition of USA diplomat's wife after fatal crash

11 Janvier, 2020, 06:33 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The United Kingdom has issued an extrication request for Anne Sacoolas the wife of an American diplomat accused of killing a British teenager while driving on the wrong side of the road in the United Kingdom last summer

Harry Dunn, 19, was killed in the United Kingdom when his motorcycle was struck by a auto near a military base last summer.

Last month the US State Department said it was "disappointed" that Britain had charged Sacoolas, asserting that in Washington's view she does enjoy diplomatic immunity in the case.

The Home Office did not immediately return TIME's request for comment, but the U.S. State Department tells TIME the extradition request is "highly inappropriate". "She continues to grieve for Harry and his family".

In a statement, a State Department spokesperson said, "the use of an extradition treaty to attempt to return the spouse of a former diplomat by force would establish an extraordinarily troubling precedent".

The crash which killed Mr Dunn happened just outside RAF Croughton, where Mrs Sacoolas' husband worked.

In late December, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of the United Kingdom charged Sacoolas with causing the teenager's death by unsafe driving and said it would proceed with demanding her extradition from the US.

"The United States has been clear that, at the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the driver in this case had status that conferred diplomatic immunities", the statement said.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions has met with Harry Dunn's family to explain the basis of the decision we have made following a thorough review of the evidence available", she said.

She said: "Anne will not return voluntarily to the United Kingdom to face a potential jail sentence for what was a awful but unintentional accident".

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It's then up to a lawyer to determine whether the case falls under the dual-criminality treaty.

Currently, the maximum sentence for death by risky driving is 14 years.

The family have initiated various legal proceedings against the Foreign Office, the United States government and Mrs Sacoolas herself after their lawyers disputed the granting of diplomatic immunity.

Spokesman Radd Seiger said on behalf of Dunn's family: "Anne Sacoolas will come back". There is no other way forward.

"They will simply take things one step at a time and not get ahead of themselves", he added.

"This will not of course bring Harry back, but in the circumstances of all that this family have been through, they are pleased with the development and feel that it is a huge step towards achieving justice for Harry and making good on the promise that they made to him on the night he died that they would secure justice for him".

In December, Mr Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles said the family was "relieved" Mrs Sacoolas had "finally" been charged. However, no one, whether diplomat or otherwise, is above the law'.

The family's constituency MP, cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom, has since written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to meet Mr Dunn's parents to hear their concerns.

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