News / Asia

Detained Diplomat Complains About Treatment in US Custody

Indian Diplomat Arrest in US Sparks Protestsi
X
December 18, 2013 1:52 PM
An Indian diplomat arrested in the United States last week says she faced repeated handcuffing and intrusive body searches while being held on visa fraud charges in New York City. The diplomat's charges have stirred protests in India.
VOA News
An Indian diplomat arrested in the United States last week says she faced repeated handcuffing and cavity searches while being held on visa fraud charges in New York City, fueling a diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and her country.

In an email published in Indian media Wednesday, Deputy Consul General Devyani Khobragade said she broke down in tears multiple times while undergoing cavity searches and other indignities. She said she also was held in a space with common criminals and drug addicts, despite her repeated assertions that she has diplomatic immunity.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called India's National Security Advisor to discuss Khobragade's December 12 arrest, saying U.S. laws must be enforced, but also expressing regret at the events that unfolded after her detention.

India has reacted with outrage to the incident.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said the "isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties" that the U.S. and India share. He said U.S. officials are "looking into the intake procedures surrounding this arrest to ensure that all standard procedures were followed and that every opportunity for courtesy was extended."

Supporters of a small opposition party staged an anti-U.S. protest in New Delhi on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Indian authorities asked U.S. consular officers to return their identity cards, rescinded airport passes and removed concrete security barriers from in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi.

State Department spokesman Marie Harf said the U.S. expects that American "diplomats should be allowed to continue with their jobs. They should not be impeded from doing them in any way."

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.
x
Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.
Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an undated picture from her Twitter account.
The 39-year-old Khobragade is accused of making false statements in support of the visa application of an Indian national she brought to the United States to serve as household staff. She also is accused of paying the woman less than the minimum wage.

Khobragade, who says she is innocent, has been released on $250,000 bail.

In a diplomatic rebuff, Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde cancelled his meeting with a five-member delegation of U.S. Congress members visiting New Delhi. India's ruling Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi and opposition leader Narendra Modi also cancelled meetings with the group.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: San Mann
December 21, 2013 2:29 AM
I'm concerned that the US is becoming the United States of Cavity Search, just as it's already become the United States of Wiretap. Soon it will also become the United States of Domestic Drones. The growing intrusiveness of the US govt needs to be debated vigorously. That cavity searches are becoming routine standard procedure is very worrisome. A person can't even tell a security officer "Don't Touch My Junk" without the fear of being treated as a danger to society. Where will it all end?

by: Pfalzman
December 19, 2013 4:44 PM
Seems she has been tried and convicted by the press and the public before a trial. The recent alleged fraud and abuses of Medicaid by a group of Russian diplomats to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars did not result in such drastic measures, and could equally be described as a series of felonies.

by: Fisher1949 from: USA
December 18, 2013 9:05 PM
Is this the Salem witch trials where an accusation is sufficient grounds for punishment?

She hasn’t been convicted of any crime but there was permanent damage to her by the actions of the State Department and Marshall Service.

This isn't the first incident involving Indian officials. TSA publicly groped a female diplomat in Mississippi that was visiting Hillary Clinton. TSA also strip searched a former Indian President twice and searched and humiliated another Indian diplomat who is Sikh at JFK.

It would be fully justified for India to detain; strip search and perform cavity searches on every American traveling into or out of the country, including diplomats and elected officials.

by: Juan Herrera from: Venezuela
December 18, 2013 6:56 PM
Since the US has been strict with Indian Diplomat on supplying false information on a visa application and also paying "slave wages" to a maid of her own country, why not apply the same strict rules to so called "Venezuelan diplomats" who probably carry cocaine" in their diplomatic luggage? Proof of thi sabounds in Kenya where a "straight diplomat, a Vnewly appointe Venezuelan Ambassador was murdered for teying to put a stop to smuggling drugs under diplomatic luggage inmunity.

by: Taiji Robinhood
December 18, 2013 4:51 PM
This is another testimony of the American government not following with the common rules.

by: Ian from: USA
December 18, 2013 3:18 PM
My country (the USA) & its people (including indian americans and many other ethnic groups) are not 100% free from making mistakes but we try to be fair .
Here , we do witness some of the so called with diplomatic immunity behaving badly (such as reckless driving & walk away from automobile accidents etc..) because they perceive that they are above the law . I assume this happens in many countries by many diplomatic corps as well.
In this particular case I believe the Indian government is out of line to
" asked U.S. consular officers to return their identity cards, rescinded airport passes and removed concrete security barriers from in front of the U.S. embassy in New Delhi."
It is not worthy of the image of a country with many thousand years old civilization such as India to react this way .
In Response

by: Taiji Robinhood
December 20, 2013 4:54 AM
Consider the innocent people killed by the Americans in Iraq, Afganistan, Palistan, ..... And the killers enjoy the immunity.

by: scallywag from: nyc
December 18, 2013 2:21 PM
That said one wonders if Indian politicians ought to be shocked by the way the housekeeper has been purportedly said to be treated. Then again perhaps such matters might not resonate with higher ups in India….not that it necessarily resonates with the way common people are treated here in the US as well, which of course is the brunt. Khobragade was treated like the rest of us and naturally she didn't like it……but why then only subject the common person to this type of humiliating approach?

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/12/devyani-khobragade-indian-diplomat-treatment-cops-despicable/

by: sam from: d.c.
December 18, 2013 9:14 AM
those people in india protesting about this are stupid. they're simply protesting against the fact that an "indian national" was arrested. being an "indian national" doesn't mean one is special and does not commit crimes or dishonesty. if someone goes against the law they should expect punishment whether "indian" or not. the protesters and indian government should instead be scrutinizing the accused to see if she is a good representative of their country. too many nationalistic and narrow-minded idiots in this world.

by: Nicole S. from: USA
December 18, 2013 7:53 AM
I have read that she is a well known criminal in India who has lied on government documents there and committed real estate fraud many times, but that she is in a protected group.
She must be part of the corruption of India we are always hearing about. How terrible that now that corruption and crazy class worship has caused all of this for a person like her.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs