news.vice.com - 11 days ago
Turkish guards who attacked protesters in D.C. might not have diplomatic immunity
The Turkish security guards who attacked protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday can claim diplomatic immunity — but that doesn’t mean they have it.
After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump, protesters carrying the flag of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party gathered outside of the Turkish embassy. A video that surfaced Thursday afternoon shows Erdogan standing by as his guards then attacked the protesters. The State Department is working with D.C. police to investigate the guards’ role in the altercation and determine what diplomatic and legal options, if any, are available for addressing what D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham called a “brutal attack on peaceful protesters.” “There could be a diplomatic immunity issue, but that won’t prevent us from doing what we need to do,” Newsham said in a press conference on Wednesday. Diplomatic immunity is given to diplomats around the world to ensure they’re able to carry out their mission without fear of prosecution or persecution under the host country’s laws. Whether or not immunity applies to the guards depends on their relationship to the embassy. “If [the guards] were accredited members of the diplomatic mission, then they have diplomatic immunity and that would be upheld,” said Stanford University law professor Allen Weiner, a former State Department legal advisor.
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