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Mon, 26 October 2020

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By Lord Morris
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Dominic Raab urges US to ‘do the right thing’ as diplomat's wife wanted over teen crash death

Dominic Raab urges US to ‘do the right thing’ as diplomat's wife wanted over teen crash death
2 min read

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has called on the United States to "do the right thing" after an American woman involved in a car crash that left a British teenager dead was granted immunity.

Mr Raab urged the US to "reconsider its position" over Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American intelligence official, who left the UK following the fatal collision near a base used by the US military in August.

Northamptonshire Police have appealed in "the strongest terms" for US to apply a waiver so they can question Ms Sacoolas in connection with the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn.

Mr Raab has now raised the case with US ambassador Woody Johnson, with the Foreign Office saying in statement: "The Foreign Secretary met the US Ambassador today and urged the US to reconsider its position and do the right thing by Harry Dunn’s family."

Downing Street has already described the case as "extremely concerning", and on Tuesday Boris Johnson vowed to raise it directly with Donald Trump if no progress can be made.

"I do not think it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose," he said.

And the Prime Minister told reporters: "I hope Anne Sacoolas will come back and engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country.

"That’s a point we’ve raised or are raising today with the American ambassador here in the UK and I hope it will be resolved very shortly.

"If we can’t resolve it then of course I will be raising it myself personally with the White House."

Diplomatic immunity can be claimed by people working for foreign governments, and in some cases their partners, and allows them to avoid prosecution in the country where an alleged offence was committed.

The US Embassy has already expressed its "deepest sympathies" over the  "tragic traffic incident".

But it added: "Any questions regarding a waiver of immunity with regard to our diplomats and their family members overseas in a case like this receive intense attention at senior levels and are considered carefully given the global impact such decisions carry; immunity is rarely waived.

"The US embassy has been and will continue to be in close contact with appropriate British officials."

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