Sat, 25 June 2022

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Dominic Raab condemns US decision not to extradite diplomat's wife over Harry Dunn death

Dominic Raab condemns US decision not to extradite diplomat's wife over Harry Dunn death
3 min read

Dominic Raab has condemned the US government over its decision not to extradite a diplomat's wife over the death of teenager Harry Dunn.

The Foreign Secretary said he was "disappointed" after the US State Department claimed sending Anne Sacoolas to Britain would "set an extrordinarily troubling precedent".

Mrs Sacoolas has been charged by the Crown Prosecution Service in connection with the death of 19-year-old Mr Dunn, who was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car outside a US military base in Northamptonshire last August.

In a statement on Thursday, the State Department said: "At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the US citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.

"If the United States were to grant the UK's extradition request, it would render the invocation of diplomatic immunity a practical nullity and would set an extraordinarily troubling precedent."

But Mr Raab hit back at the decision, saying the UK would have "acted differently if this had been a UK diplomat serving in the US".

"I called the US ambassador earlier to express the Government's disappointment about this decision," he said in a statement.

"We feel this amounts to a denial of justice, and we believe Anne Sacoolas should return to the UK. We are now urgently considering our options.

"I also explained that the UK would have acted differently if this had been a UK diploamt serving in the US.

"I emphasised that work to imporove road safety on and around the Croughton base must continue, and the need to resolve the issue whereby family members at RAF Croughton are immune from criminal prosecution."

'Shoulder to shoulder'

The comments come after Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, who is the Dunn family's local MP, said the UK government stood "shoulder to shoulder" with the family.

Ms Leadsom, who is set to discuss at a meeting with US Ambassador Woody Johnson on Friday, added: "At its heart this was a road traffic accident where a lovely young man with his life ahead of him died.

"Diplomatic immunity should not be at play here, the person who has been charged by the CPS must be brought back the UK to stand trial we stand shoulder to shoulder with Harry's family to get justice done."

Radd Sieger, who is the Dunn family's spokesman, said they were "not at all surprised" by the US decision.

"This is a lawless, corrupt administration that appears intent on attacking even its closest international ally," Mr Sieger said.

"If Trump and Pompeo think this is an end to the matter, they have another thing coming to them."

He added: "We'll simply take it in our stride. Everybody's relaxed, we knew this day was coming.

"Team Harry will sit down with the government tomorrow and work out our next steps.

"And next steps there will be. The whole world is on team Harry's side. This is not a battle the US government is going to win."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously admitted the chances of Mrs Sacoolas returning to the UK were slim after President Trump described Mr Dunn's death as a "terrible accident".

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