A Sudanese diplomat was briefly detained for grabbing a woman's breasts and buttocks in an East Village bar over the weekend, but was released after showing cops his U.N. credentials.
According to an NYPD spokesperson, Hassan Salih groped a 23-year-old woman while she was dancing at Bar None just before 2:30 a.m on Sunday. The woman complained to a bouncer, and police soon arrived at the scene. As cops began questioning the 36-year-old diplomat, he attempted to flee the scene, but was quickly chased down, handcuffed and brought to a nearby stationhouse, police said.
"He identified himself as a diplomat, we confirmed that he indeed was a diplomat, and he was released," the police spokesperson confirmed.
According to UN Watch, Salih was elected to represent Sudan on a committee that accredits and oversees human rights groups. He is listed as a "second secretary" on the Sudanese Mission to the UN's website.
As a result of the 1978 Diplomatic Relations Act, diplomats are legally immune from both criminal prosecution and lawsuits related to their activities on and off the job. The policy, which is intended to protect diplomats from unfair charges in hostile countries, came under fire in 2015, when the first secretary of Delhi's Saudi Embassy invoked the privilege after allegedly beating and raping two Nepali women.
A German UN attaché also invoked immunity after allegedly punching his wife in the face last fall.
Earlier this year, a different Sudanese diplomat was arrested for allegedly rubbing his crotch on a woman on the subway. He initially faced charges of sexual assault and forceable touching, which were dropped after police confirmed his diplomat status.
The day after that incident, state Senator Daniel L. Squadron introduced legislation that would require law enforcement officials to notify federal and state agencies when those with diplomatic immunity violate the law. A similar bill was introduced in the City Council in 2014. Neither piece of legislation has received a hearing.