Washington: Diplomatic immunity does not apply to family members of consular officers, US State Department has said, a day after the daughter of an Indian diplomat filed a law suit against alleging that she was falsely arrested and suspended for sending obscene emails to teachers at her Queens High School.
“The Vienna Convention on Consular Affairs provides that consular officers are not liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a felony where a court warrant is required. But that provision does not apply to family members,” the State Departments spokesman, Mark Toner, told reporters at his daily news conference here yesterday.
Family members of the diplomats do carry diplomatic passports, he acknowledged but diplomatic immunity does not apply to them, he noted.
“This is different for consular officers versus those in the embassy. There’s different categories,” Toner said.
At a news conference in New York, Krittika Biswas, daughter of the vice counsel at the Indian Consulate in Manhattan, Debashish Biswas, claimed that she was ill-treated in prison.
Biswas alleged that she was not allowed to use the bathroom for a long-time when she was in custody at the 107th precinct.
“Eventually, I had to go in front of everyone,” Biswas said, referring to a small toilet that was in the cell occupied by other persons.
Her lawyer Ravi Batra said that her more than 24-hour arrest on February 8 was a violation of international law, federal law as well as state and city law.
Batra said that neither Debashish Biswas, father of the girl, nor the Consulate General of India, Prabhu Dayal, were informed of the arrest.
Batra also claimed that Biswas, 18, had diplomatic immunity that prevented her from being arrested.
But the Consulate General said that US authorities informed him that the immunity did not extend to family members of the diplomat.
“That did not cut any ice,” he said.
It later emerged that Biswas did not send the emails and the school authorities eventually allowed her back to the school after the real culprit was found.