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South Sudanese diplomat at the UN rapes a woman in New York, arrested and then released after he invoked diplomatic immunity

Charles Dickens Imene Oliha, a South Sudanese diplomat to the UN, went missing after he was arrested for rape and then released as he invoked diplomatic immunity

On Monday, a United Nations diplomat from South Sudan named Charles Dickens Imene Oliha was arrested for sexually assaulting one of his neighbour women in Upper Manhattan in New York, and was released immediately after it was known that he had diplomatic immunity. The incident is said to have happened on Sunday afternoon inside the apartment of the victim woman.

According to the reports, the Police arrested the accused South Sudanese diplomat several hours after the assault and later released him because he has diplomatic immunity. Oliha, aged 46 is a career diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in South Sudan. The Police confirmed that the accused diplomat was taken into custody and interrogated in the case.

“But once he informed detectives from the New York City Police Department’s Special Victims Unit that he was a diplomat, investigators confirmed he had immunity and swiftly released him without formally charging him”, the Police were quoted.

Meanwhile, the victim lady narrated her ordeal to the Police and said that she and the diplomat stayed in the same apartment at Wadsworth Terrace in Fort George. She told the cops that the accused followed her to her apartment upstairs and sexually assaulted her. According to the police, on Sunday at noon, the lady had taken a neighbour’s dog on a walk. The man approached the woman in the lobby and said that he was going to follow the woman upstairs.

He did though the woman had replied to the diplomat saying, “No, you’re not”. But as the woman opened the door to her apartment, the diplomat forced his way inside, the police said. “The woman reported that the intruder pinned her against a wall and raped her using a condom before raping her again on the couch without a condom”, the Police were quoted.

Reports mention that the victim was in shock after the attack and went to sleep. She later called 911 to inform the Police about the incident after a friend convinced her to make a report. The woman was also taken to the Columbia University Medical Center for treatment.

After receiving the complaint, police arrested Oliha on Sunday night. But he was released on Monday morning after he invoked his diplomatic immunity and the police found it to be true after verifying. After his release, he has gone missing, he was not found at his hom and the South Sudanese embassy has not been able to trace him.

Jane Manning who is the director of the Women’s Equal Justice project and a former sex-crimes prosecutor took cognizance of the incident and said, “It is disturbing to know that someone who is accused of rape cannot be held accountable no matter what the facts”.

“I hope that the NYPD detectives will still do a full and thorough investigation to establish what the evidence shows”, she added. Meanwhile, Dy permanent representative for the embassy of South Sudan, Cecilia Adeng stated that she or the other officers were not aware of the incident.

“This is something that’s not tolerable at all. I tried calling him but he didn’t answer”, she said. Adeng also added that she would have a conversation with the diplomat once he returns to the embassy and take the report to the headquarters.

Charles Dickens Imene Oliha lives in a building near 191st Street in upper Manhattan with his wife and their four young children. After the incident, there have been demands to the US state department to revoke his diplomatic immunity so that he can be arrested by the police. So far the state department has not commented on the matter, and has not revealed whether he is still in USA or not. +

Charles Dickens Imene Oliha lying on street after drinking session (Photo: Daily Mail)

Prior to this incident, Charles Dickens Imene Oliha was known for his drinking behaviour, as he would often pass out on the streets after drinking too much. Daily Mail posted a video from last month showing hm lying on the street after a session of drinking Coors Light beer. According to his neighbours, it was nothing unusual, as he drinks every evening om the stairs of his house, and often passes out. In fact, people didn’t even believe him when he said that he worked at the UN, because they always saw him drunk.

Earlier, a similar incident happened in the year 2018 when Martiniano Sosa, the husband of an Argentine diplomat was released because of diplomatic immunity. Sosa during a 2018 boozy party at the Cuban Embassy in Midtown had beat the United Nations worker in his face. According to the reports, the accused did not face any criminal charges as he was covered under the diplomatic immunity of his wife, Argentine envoy Natalia Babio.

Reports mention that diplomatic immunity offers a special status to envoys since ancient times. In 1790, the United States passed laws that granted ambassadors, their families, and servants absolute immunity. Over time, the legislation has been altered to reduce the amount of protection and the number of persons who may be granted it.

The US State Department notes that dealing with the notion of immunity presents significant challenges for law enforcement officials, who are averse, by oath and training, to offering special benefits or concessions to persons who break the law. “Diplomatic immunity is not intended to serve as a license for persons to flout the law and purposely avoid liability for their actions. Law enforcement must keep a sharp eye on how it is administered”, the State Department was quoted.

Meanwhile, New York Post in its report claimed that the diplomat might have fled from the United States with his wife and kids. The Post officials continuously knocked on the doors of Charles Dickens Imene Oliha’s apartment on August 23. “No sounds came from inside and there was no light visible from behind a red curtain fluttering in a window”, the report stated.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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