Senegal’s government accuses Canadian police of beating Ottawa embassy diplomat

Written by Javed Iqbal

The Republic of Senegal says one of its diplomats on duty in Ottawa was beaten in his home by police earlier this week, while Quebec’s Gatineau Police Service says its members subdued and arrested a person who was violent towards officers.

Senegal’s embassy issued a French-language press release from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad about Tuesday’s incident on the embassy’s Facebook page Friday afternoon. The release did not cite the law enforcement agency involved.

“During this operation, the Canadian police inflicted humiliating physical and moral violence on the diplomat in front of witnesses and in the presence of her minor children,” according to the release.

“Despite being reminded of the victim’s status as a diplomat and of the inviolability of her home, the Canadian police officers handcuffed her and brutally beat her to the point that she had difficulty breathing, leading to . .. evacuation by ambulance to the hospital.”

The ministry’s release did not name the diplomat or specify the location of the home.

CBC has contacted the embassy and the ministry for comment.

Police say the person was aggressive

In its own French-language news release issued late Friday nightThe Gatineau Police Service said its members assisted a bailiff in executing a warrant and arrived at the scene around 1 p.m. 1:30 PM ET Tuesday.

A police spokesman later confirmed that it happened in Gatineau.

“Police confirmed that … the legal officer who approved the court order had been informed that the individual had diplomatic status,” according to the release. “Faced with an aggressive individual who refused to cooperate, the police intervened to explain the course of action and ensure everything went smoothly.”

The police do not say whether the person was a diplomat at the embassy.

According to the police statement, a policewoman was punched in the face during the intervention, which led the police to arrest the person “for the sake of those present”.

“The subject resisted arrest and bit another officer. The subject was then brought to the ground to be subdued [and] was detained in the back of the patrol vehicle, under the supervision of a female police officer, until the bailiff executed his order and the situation returned to calm,” the release continued.

“At no time did the person mention being injured or in pain when he was questioned.”

The police release went on to say that later that day, shortly after 3 p.m., the ambulance crew called [Gatineau Police Service] for help as they were working with this person and about 10 people were present.”

Call for investigation

In its release, the Senegalese government said it has called for an investigation to be carried out without delay and that “the case be brought against the perpetrators of this unacceptable aggression, which constitutes a serious attack on the physical integrity of the person and on human dignity.”

The government also called the incident a “flagrant” violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“Faced with this situation, the Government of Senegal immediately summoned …. the Canadian Embassy in [Senegal’s capital] Dakar to strongly condemn and strongly condemn this racist and barbaric act,” the government said in its release.

CBC News contacted Global Affairs Canada, which acknowledged the request and said it would respond “as soon as possible.”

The Gatineau Police Service said that in accordance with the province’s police law, Quebec’s Director of Criminal Justice and Criminal Prosecutions (DCPP) was asked Thursday to consider whether a criminal investigation into the officers’ actions should take place.

“That [Gatineau Police Service] management will cooperate in any subsequent process or investigation in full transparency,” according to the release.

Police also asked the DCPP to determine whether charges of assault on an officer and obstructing police are warranted against the person.

Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security was alerted to the incident, police said.

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Javed Iqbal

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