19-year-old Briton, Harry Dunn, was killed in an accident with a Volvo in Northamptonshire, England, at the end of August.
Dunn died near the Royal Air Force Croughton, a US military base. According to CCTV, the Volvo drove on the wrong side of the road when he hit Dunn on his bicycle. The driver of the Volvo was later identified as the 42-year-old Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a base-based American diplomat.
Dunn's tragic death has now become a diplomatic controversy after Sacoolas fled Britain and returned to the US, citing diplomatic immunity. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged Sacoolas to cooperate in the investigation and said he would address the issue directly with the White House.
President Trump described Dunn's death as a "terrible accident" while also accusing the British roads of being "terrible". "You know, these are the opposite roads that happen," he told reporters last week. "I'm not going to say it ever happened to me, but it did happen ̵
On Wednesday, Trump apparently decided to intervene personally in the dispute – even though he did it in a way that only managed to make the case even stranger – on Tuesday, Dunn's parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, received an invitation to White Home Meeting with a Senior Official When they got there, they found that the meeting with Trump was himself, telling them that Sacoolas, the woman allegedly involved in the crash, was in the White House and wanted to meet them.
According to the Washington Post, Trump wanted to arrange a "hug and a balance moment." A spokesman for Dunn's parents said they felt "attacked" by the request and declined I met with Sacoolas as it looked like an attempt to arrange a photo op.
Trump later said on Wednesday he had tried to organize the meeting at Johnson's request. The Prime Minister's office did not comment.
The encounter with the White House has made the case even more complicated – and still does not solve the key problem, namely that Sacoolas refuses to return to the UK to participate in the investigation.
Her actions have also raised questions about the use of diplomatic immunity in such a case, turning the tragic death of a teenager into an uncomfortable back-and-forth between the US and Britain that does not do it looks like it would be solved shortly.
Sacoolas initially cooperated with the police. Then she fled and demanded diplomatic immunity.
On August 27, Dunn rode his motorcycle near RAF Croughton, a US Air Force communications station in Northampshire when a car hit him. Dunn died of his injuries the next day.
According to the police, the video showed "a black Volvo XC90 heading in the direction of the village [that] colliding head-on with a black Kawasaki motorcycle." According to reports, the driver, later identified as Sacoolas, had just left the base on the wrong side of the road, leaving Dunn with no time to avoid a collision. Sacoolas is married to Jonathan Sacoolas, a US diplomat who has been classified as a "spy" in the British press. She was only in the UK for three weeks at the time of the accident.
Originally, Sacoolas collaborated with the investigation, according to officials and lawyers from Sacoolas. "Anne stayed at the accident site to help. She spoke to Harry to tell him that she was calling for help, "her lawyers told the Guardian. "She waved another car down. This driver offered Harry to help him so that Anne could comfort her little children in her car. "
According to the police, Sacoolas told the authorities that she had no plans to travel. In the end, she left Britain and returned to the US, citing international diplomatic immunity. On 5 September, the United Kingdom formally requested the US diplomatic immunity for the diplomat's wife. However, the US Embassy in London rejected the request, according to the New York Times.
Dunn's parents demanded answers, and media attention led some to question Sacoola's ability to claim diplomatic immunity. This immunity is granted by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, although the principle of diplomatic immunity is much longer than that of international relations.
The Cold War Convention provides full protection for diplomats and their families, spouses and children. It is intended to protect diplomats working abroad in a hostile environment. Both the United States and the United Kingdom are contracting parties.
There were some questions as to whether Jonathan Sacoolas had qualified himself for diplomatic immunity, but British officials told the Guardian that the base of the RAF in Croughton was treated as an "annexe" to the RAF, the US Embassy. And the US seldom renounces diplomatic immunity.
But Dunn's parents, local police and leading British government officials have called on Sacoolas to return to the UK to cooperate with the investigation.
"President Trump, please listen," said Charlotte Charles, Dunn's mother, to Sky News last week. "We are a ruined family, we are broken."
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab raised the issue with US officials – including Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo – and urged them to reconsider their position on immunity, Prime Minister Boris Johnson Also said last week that he would take up the matter with Donald Trump.
"I do not think it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this kind of purpose," Johnson told the BBC last week. "And I hope Anne Sacoolas will come back and deal properly with the legal processes that are going on in this country."
He added that "if we can not solve it, then of course I will appeal to me personally the White House. "
Trump was asked last Wednesday at a meeting with reporters on the state of the case. "The person who drove the car has diplomatic immunity. We'll talk to her shortly and see if we can do something where they meet, "he said, after saying that Britain had" opposite roads "- apparently an indication that motorists in the UK continue to drive the left Side of the road instead of the right, as is common in most other countries, including America.
It seems that Trump (19459031] as Photographer of the Washington Post has gotten off the script only a little bit] caught a glimpse of Trump's notes, in which he was to say that Sacoolas would not return to Britain.
Meanwhile, the Dunn family continued to express their frustration with both the British and British governments.
Then, on Sunday, Raab wrote to Dunn's parents that now that the woman was back in the United States, she no longer qualified for diplomatic immunity. "The UK government argues that immunity, and therefore any question of suspension in Ms. Sacoola's case, no longer matters because she has returned home," Raab wrote, according to Sky News.
Raab added that the US agreed and that the case was now in the hands of the local police and Crown Prosecution Services, England's prosecutor. This essentially means that the United Kingdom could apply for formal extradition of Sacoolas if it is charged with a criminal offense.
Of course, it is not clear whether the UK will push for extradition if Sacoolas is charged or how the US reacts.
But all this happened before Trump interfered personally.
Trump tried to bring the victim's parents and Sacoola together in a bizarre White House meeting.
This weekend, Dunn's parents flew to the United States to lobby their case here. On Tuesday Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the family, said Dunn's parents had received an invitation to the White House. They told CBS News on Wednesday that they were only told at the time that they were meeting with a senior official.
It turned out that the meeting was with President Donald Trump. Dunn's mother Charlotte Charles said Trump was "warm and inviting," but then surprised her by saying that Sacoolas was in the White House and wanted to meet.
"He asked two or three times," said Tim Dunn, the victim's father, adding, "It was a bit of pressure, but we stuck to our guns." Ready to sit down with Sacoolas – but only if she returns to the UK. "We've been saying all along that you know we're ready to meet them, we're still ready to meet them, but it has to be on British soil, you know, and with therapists and mediators," said Charles to CBS News. "And that's not just for us. That is also true for them.
But, somehow, things got even weirder, according to the lawyer for Charles and Dunn, National Security Advisor Robert O Brien and Trump suggested that Dunn's family should meet Sacoolas before the White House press corps for a larger photograph
A lawyer for Sacoolas told CBS News that she was invited to the White House but was unaware of the circumstances (Sacoolas had previously told a lawyer she wanted to meet with the family to help her ".) Deepest sympathy "and" apologize ".)
Later, the spokesman for Dunn's parents said they felt" attacked "at the president's request.
Trump defended his actions on Wednesday and said he had convened the meeting at the suggestion of Boris Johnson. "They were not ready for it," Trump said, "but I offered it, I talked to Boris, he asked me if I would do that I did it.
Trump added that his meeting with Dunn's family was "in some ways beautiful" and expressed his condolences to the family "in the name of the country".
Trump about meeting a family of teenagers who were killed in the UK by the wife of a US diplomat in a car crash: "My meeting with the family was in some ways really beautiful … it was very sad you have I think it went wrong, b / c that happens in Europe. " pic.twitter.com/tRFDpfEHTY
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 16, 2019  The awkward meeting in the White House will probably do little to solve the key tension in this case. That's whether Sacoolas will return to Britain to face justice.
Nonetheless, it is a reminder of Trump's love of personalized diplomacy, which seems to have been badly fired in this case.
This is also a diplomatic matter that Britain and the United States would like to avoid at the moment. The "special relationship" between the United Kingdom and the United States has had some problems over the past year, especially after a lot of diplomatic cables have leaked out, in which British ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, called the Trump government "incompetent" and said that Trump, although he is president, "radiates uncertainty".
Now the question arises as to whether Trump's half-hearted attempt to mediate here will further burden relations.
And none of this helps Dunn's family, which is still seeking justice. "If I'm honest," said Charlotte Charles, Dunn's mother, "I do not hope [Sacoolas is] will be returned to us."