Canada to open investigation into police handling of Senegal diplomat
Senegal's Foreign Ministry summons the Canadian Embassy Chargé d'Affaires to denounce and condemn Canadian police acts against a Senegalese diplomat.
Canada announced Saturday it will open an investigation into police conduct after Senegal lodged a formal complaint that one of its diplomats in Ottawa was handcuffed and "savagely beaten" in a recent incident.
Senegal's Foreign Ministry summoned the Canadian Embassy's Chargé d'Affaires this week, accusing Canadian police of having "raided" the diplomat's home and exercised "humiliating physical and moral violence, in front of witnesses."
The Ministry confirmed it had summoned the Canadian representative to "vigorously denounce and strongly condemn the racist and barbaric act."
The identity of the diplomat has not been disclosed.
Late Saturday, the government of Quebec, the province where the incident occurred, announced that the police watchdog Bureau of Independent Investigations (BEI) was opening a probe following a federal report that the "First Counselor of the Embassy of Senegal in Canada" was the subject of "a police intervention that raises questions."
Police claimed the woman did not complain of any injury
A response issued late Friday by the police department of Gatineau, an Ottawa suburb, described a different scene, claiming that the woman had violently attacked two police officers.
The police said they had been called on Tuesday when a bailiff encountered problems while executing a court order -- which was not described.
They said police determined the court order was valid and that the official who issued it had been told of the person's diplomatic status. The bailiff then proceeded to carry out his order, the police said.
The police department of Gatineau claimed that the person became "aggressive", refused to cooperate, and struck one officer in the face.
When they moved to arrest her, police claimed, the woman resisted and bit a second officer.
At that point, she was handcuffed and then placed in the back of a patrol car -- "for the safety of those present" -- while the bailiff carried out his order.
The police claimed that the woman did not complain of any pain or injury, though later in the day police were called back by paramedics seeking "assistance when they were working with this person."
The Gatineau police statement said provincial prosecutors had been asked to review whether officers should face a criminal investigation.
It also requested a review of whether charges could be brought against the woman for attacking officers and interfering with police work.
"Flagrant" violation of 1961 Vienna Convention
The Senegal Foreign Ministry has demanded that the incident be investigated and proceedings brought against "the perpetrators of this inadmissible aggression."
It called the incident a "flagrant" violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In a statement, Ottawa said it would "continue to cooperate fully with Senegal to remedy this regrettable situation" and that it takes its Vienna Convention obligations "very seriously".
"We are working diligently with the various levels of government involved and look forward to a thorough investigation," the Canadian government said, adding that the Foreign Affairs Minister was in contact with her Senegalese counterpart.