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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Gov’t still silent on Senegalese diplomat’s rape case

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By Alagie Manneh

Foreign affairs ministry has refused to disclose whether it will be making a formal request to Senegal to waive the diplomatic status of an envoy accused of rape in April.

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It also declined to elucidate whether the country will declare the 41-year-old persona non grata.

“I am not at liberty to divulge any information on the case, for now,” spokesperson Saikou Ceesay tersely told The Standard.

The diplomat, who denies the allegations, was accused of raping a mentally unbalanced girl he resides in the same compound with, leading police investigators to recommend for his prosecution in a May report seen by The Standard, and copied to relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Justice.

He was briefly detained and released in April. It is believed the diplomat has immunity from prosecution under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Solicitor General told The Standard in August the case is a “foreign affairs” issue due to its “diplomatic underpinnings”.

“It is a diplomatic issue governed by the Vienna Convention,” Mr Ceesay reiterated when pressed to disclose the progress of the ministry on the matter, almost a month after the alleged crime.

But the victim told The Standard she is still “in pain” and demanded justice now.

An ex-diplomat had earlier indicated to The Standard that the case should have made greater headway by now if the administration of President Barrow was at all interested in justice.

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