On December 12th 2013, the police arrested and publicly handcuffed the Deputy Consul General in Consulate General of India in New York, Devyani Khobragade (pictured), who was later released on a US$ 250 000 bond.

The US authorities alleged that the young woman committed fraud in order to obtain a residence visa for one of her house employees. As a consequence, she would no longer benefit from diplomatic immunity, which according to the Vienna Convention only applies to crimes committed by diplomats in the performance of their duties.

However, while the Vienna Convention authorizes legal proceedings, it formally forbids the arrest, handcuffing, and release on bail of diplomats.

Persuaded that this case is anything but a blunder, the Indian authorities immediately withdrew all special permits delivered to US diplomats in India. They removed the protections surrounding their embassy and put an end to all diplomatic privileges. The Indian police is currently poring over the bank accounts of all US diplomats and their employeese, looking for a breach that they could thus treat in the same manner.

Alizée Ville