October 18th 2017

Top Stories / National

Kenya holds U.S. diplomat over traffic accident, testing diplomacy

“We are aware of a minor traffic accident involving an employee of the U.S. embassy and we are cooperating fully with authorities. Contrary to some reports, at no time did the employee brandish or fire a weapon,” said the embassy in a statement.

By Jack Otwalanewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 12 Feb 2017 18:03 EAT

The diplomat's car at Central Police Station.

Police in Nairobi held a U.S. embassy official over a minor traffic accident today, testing diplomatic protocol and relations between the two countries. The embassy spokespeople confirmed in a statement to media that the official was arrested and that they were in touch with the Kenya government over the matter.

“We are aware of a minor traffic accident involving an employee of the U.S. embassy and we are cooperating fully with authorities. Contrary to some reports, at no time did the employee brandish or fire a weapon,” said the embassy in a statement, countering media reports that the official had brandished a gun at another driver whose vehicle he had scratched along Lusaka Road, Industrial Area.

According to the police report, the official, who holds diplomatic status, was arrested after brandishing a gun at a civilian following the accident. The diplomat's vehicle, registration number 29CD701K, was also detained at Central Police Station. The man was arrested after police had circulated his car registration number following a complaint from the motorist with whom he had clashed. He had, according to the motorist's report, refused to engage in any discussion after the accident, and instead threatened him with a gun.

Under the Vienna Convention, diplomats are protected from criminal prosecution. While the level of protection depends on the rank, all diplomats are immune from criminal prosecution and host countries should get waiver from the diplomat's country if one is to be arrested, detained or asked to testify in court.

Jack is a business and society writer at the Kenya Free Press





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