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sudan dodges rape case (Aug22/2022) NYC

Published on 23 Aug 2022 / In News & Politics


South Sudan diplomat dodges NYC rape rap by claiming immunity: NYPD sources
By Ellen Moynihan, Rocco Parascandola and John Annese
New York Daily News and Police Bureau Chief

Aug 22, 2022 at 12:59 pm

A South Sudan government official in Manhattan evaded a potential rape charge because of his diplomatic immunity, the Daily News has learned.

The alleged victim reported to the NYPD at 11 p.m. Sunday that a man had opened her building’s front door and followed her into her upper Manhattan apartment about noon, and then raped her twice, police sources said.

South Sudanese diplomat Charles Oliha (Facebook)
The woman told police she had been out walking her neighbor’s dog when a man said he wanted to come to her apartment. When she told him she wasn’t interested, she alleged he followed her into her home and raped her, sources said.

She reported the attack a few hours later after a friend convinced her to do so, according to the sources.

Charles Dickens Imene Oliha
South Sudanese diplomat Charles Oliha.
The woman was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia in Washington Heights, near where she lives, to be evaluated.

The 46-year-old diplomat, Charles Oliha, was later taken into custody by police — but he invoked his diplomatic status, which the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau confirmed was valid, the sources said.

After a discussion with police lawyers, the diplomat — assigned to his North African country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was released about 5 a.m. Monday.

A representative for the South Sudan Manhattan consulate did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Charles Dickens Imene Oliha
South Sudanese diplomat Charles Oliha. (Facebook)
The outcome could be devastating for a sex crime victim, according to a psychology professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“You hope that at least there’s some fairness in the criminal justice system, and we know that in general very few cases result in convictions,” the professor, Elizabeth Jeglic, told the Daily News. “I think we have a belief in a just world, so when something like this happens, the rug is pulled out from under you.”

“When you’ve gone through all the trauma of reporting and talking to people about it ... only to find out by reporting it nothing is going to happen, it really undermines your sense of safety and your faith in humanity and the criminal justice system,” she added.

It was not immediately clear what legal steps the city might consider taking.

“This remains an ongoing investigation,” said Deputy Commissioner Julian Phillips, the NYPD’s top spokesman.

Typically, the NYPD can contact the State Department, which has the ability to revoke a diplomat’s status.

“That is a State Department matter,” Phillips said when asked if such an effort was underway.

FILE - This file photo shows the United Nations Headquarters building in New York. (Osamu Honda/AP)
The State Department did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Monday night.

Mayor Adams, in a statement, said “sexual assault of any kind should never be tolerated.”

“There is an active investigation underway,” he said. “Depending on the results, we will take all appropriate actions.”

Neighbors of Oliha said they were surprised and disgusted by the attack and the lack of resolution for the victim.

“That’s crazy, I never would have thought that especially because he has kids,” said a neighbor who only gave his first name, Rafael, 27. “He seemed like a family man, I’d see the young kids when I go to work.”

Emilio Joubert, 25, who also lives in the building, said Oliha had helped him and his girlfriend into the building after management turned off the pin pad and switched to keys.

“We have no jurisdiction over him,” he said. “That’s insane.”
“That’s actually scary that you can just get away with that,” a woman from the building said.

Liz Roberts, the head of Safe Horizon, a leading victim advocate organization, said letting Oliha off the hook shows how preposterous the rules of diplomatic immunity are.

“The fact that diplomatic immunity takes precedence over justice for the survivor of this sexual assault is incomprehensible,” she said. “We join with all survivors in demanding accountability and a complete investigation of this incident.”

Several foreign diplomats have escaped justice in a variety of New York City cases over the years, including two Sudanese diplomats accused in sex attacks in 2017.

In October 2017, a 23-year-old woman told cops that diplomat Hassan Salih, 36, groped her breasts and buttocks at Bar None on Third Ave. near 13th St. He was cut loose because of his diplomatic status. That January, Mohammad Abdalla Ali was charged with sexual abuse after a woman accused him of grinding on her in a Manhattan subway. He also was was freed because of his diplomatic status.

That same year, the wife of an Azerbaijani diplomat walked free after being accused of shoplifting at a Bronx Marshall’s store.

With Chris Sommerfeldt

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2 Comments sort Sort By

BasedAndAwake 3 months ago

this UN building needs to be demolished

   1    0
Hatbox 3 months ago


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