India's Gambit to Shield Female Diplomat Won't Work

Country gives Devyani Khobragade a new job
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2013 6:39 AM CST

(Newser) – As India gets increasingly hot under the collar about its arrested and strip-searched female diplomat, the US isn't backing down: The State Department has refused to drop charges against Devyani Khobragade, with a State Department rep emphasizing that each year the US reminds countries about "obligations they have for their staffs when they bring them to the US. We make those obligations very clear and we take any allegations that they haven't done so very seriously." Still, the BBC reports India today again insisted that the US issue an apology—and itself tried to shield Khobragade from prosecution via a gambit that State Department says won't work.

NBC News reports that India gave Khobragade a new job at the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, in a bid to get her the full immunity she currently lacks. A rep for India's foreign ministry confirmed that was the intent—"from what we are aware of the diplomatic privileges of the delegates to the UN we are sure she will get" it, he said—but the State Department rep clarified that even if her immunity status changes, it's not a retroactive change. But NBC News refers to the department's handbook for law enforcement, which it says indicates that once a person has criminal immunity they can't be prosecuted at all. See more on her arrest here, which relates to allegations that she wrote on her maid's visa application that the woman would be paid $4,500 a month, but instead paid her $573. (Read more Devyani Khobragade stories.)

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