Anger over diplomat who skipped UK prosecution after multiple rape allegations
Furious campaigners have lashed out after it emerged a foreign embassy employee was accused of two rapes in the UK but escaped prosecution due to arcane diplomatic laws.
An official was accused of two counts of rape and one attempted rape last year but skipped the justice system under the cover of diplomatic immunity.
The rules - which were written into the 1962 Vienna Convention - mean a diplomat cannot be prosecuted or be subject to any court process under the laws of the host country.
A statement released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) today revealed that the UK government appealed to the home country to have diplomatic immunity waived in light of the seriousness of the allegations.
But the home country refused and the diplomat was instead expelled from Britain.
Further details have been kept secret because the number of people in the office the official worked at is so small that others could face accusations they were behind the alleged crimes.
Hannah Peaker, chief of staff for the Women's Equality Party, told PoliticsHome: "If diplomatic staff are above the law when it comes to violence against women and girls, then where are their victims supposed to go for justice.
"Diplomats should be held to a higher standard, not a lower one."
She added: "Expelling these diplomats doesn't guarantee that they will face any consequences at home. Our government should have fought harder for immunity to be waived so that they could be brought to justice in the UK.
"But that would require the government to take its responsibilities seriously, in a week where it reinstated two of its own MPs accused of sexual misconduct."
Elsewhere, the FCO statement revealed a string of alleged offences diplomats were let off the hook for under immunity rules.
They included one diplomat from Algeria who was accused of sexual assault, one from Cambodia who was said to be carrying a firearm with intent to injure, and one Egyptian who faced allegations of blackmail.
Meanwhile, diplomats from Finland and Saudi Arabia were said to be caught driving without insurance and one Commonwealth Secretariat was allegedly caught drink driving.
The department also revealed historical cases of diplomats allegedly trying to cheat the public finances and launder dirty money.
Releasing the details today, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law. We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously.
"When the police bring instances of alleged criminal conduct to our attention, we ask the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic immunity where appropriate.
"For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we request the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat."