US: Strip-Searched Diplomat Got Special Treatment

Kerry tries to smooth things over as India demands case be dropped

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 19, 2013 1:28 AM CST | Updated Dec 19, 2013 7:41 AM CST

(Newser) – The Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip-search has sparked a major international ruckus actually received treatment better than most American citizens could expect, US Attorney Preet Baharara says. He says that contrary to some reports, Devyani Khobragade wasn't busted in front of her children, but was arrested in the most discreet way possible and was allowed to spend two hours making phone calls while agents brought her coffee, Gawker finds. "It is true that she was fully searched by a female Deputy Marshal—in a private setting—when she was brought into the US Marshals’ custody, but this is standard practice for every defendant, rich or poor, American or not," he says.

That's precious little consolation for India's foreign minister, who today demanded that the US drop the case, reports the AP. Khobragade was charged with visa fraud for allegedly bringing a maid to the US from India and paying her below minimum wage. In an effort to defuse tensions, John Kerry has spoken to India's national security adviser, who denounced the diplomat's treatment as "despicable and barbaric," NBC reports. Kerry called to "express his regret, as well as his concern that we not allow this unfortunate public issue to hurt our close and vital relationship with India," a State Department spokeswoman says, adding that Kerry, "like all officials in positions of responsibility inside the US government, expects that laws will be followed by everyone here in our country."

This Dec. 8, 2013 photo shows Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, during a fundraising event in New York.
This Dec. 8, 2013 photo shows Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general, during a fundraising event in New York.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Jaffer)
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