Khobragade has diplomatic immunity, says her attorney

Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, arrested last week for alleged visa fraud, is protected from prosecution by virtue of her diplomatic status and her ill-treatment is an embarrassing failure of US international protocol, her attorney said today.

"Dr Khobragade is protected from prosecution by virtue of her diplomatic status. This entire prosecution represents a significant error in judgement and an embarrassing failure of US international protocol," her attorney Daniel N Arshack said.

He expressed hope that the matter will be promptly resolved with "diplomats with authority at the highest levels of the Indian and US governments will confer and conclude that it is simply not in the mutual interests of our countries to continue with this ill-advised prosecution."

Distressed at the treatment that Khobragade received at the hands of US authorities, Arshack said there was simply no reason to have arrested her on the street in front of her daughter's school nor to have strip searched her.

"Similarly situated individuals of her stature are routinely provided an opportunity to report to the authorities to address charges, at their convenience, instead of being swept off the street like a common criminal," he said.

Meanwhile, an eminent Indian American attorney said that immunity-attempt would not prevail in the court.

"Immunity-attempt, however, will not prevail in court as a matter of law, but ought to prevail as part of our foreign relations so as to protect American diplomats serving abroad," said Ravi Batra, who represents the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Indian Congress in the US court cases.

Batra expressed concern at the turn of events and "called for an immediate graceful resolution" to avoid damage to much larger American interests in bilateral and multilateral context.

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