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Immunity Protects Equatorial Guinea Diplomat in US Case

File - Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, Ambassador of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in the Oval Office, Sep 17, 2013.

Police in a Washington suburb say that Equatorial Guinea's ambassador to the United States is suspected of beating his daughter with a wooden chair leg but won't be arrested because he has diplomatic immunity.

Arlington County police say they responded to an emergency call earlier this week to investigate a "malicious wounding" at the country's diplomatic residence. After interviewing people in the residence, the authorities said the "primary suspect" was identified as Ambassador Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, who took over last year as Equatorial Guinea's top envoy in the U.S.

Police said the girl, a teenager, sustained a "significant laceration" to her head, bruises and a swollen eye and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

With diplomatic immunity, envoys representing their countries abroad are protected from arrest, mostly on the theory they should not be subject to being charged with minor offenses, such as violating parking regulations, while serving in foreign lands. But the immunity also applies to more serious allegations.

Arlington police said they informed the U.S. State Department of the incident. The State Department said it was "deeply concerned by the alleged assault."