Senegal accuses police of ‘savagely beating’ one of its Ottawa diplomats

Senegal is accusing Canadian police of “savagely beating” one of its diplomats earlier this week. The Gatineau police service (SPVG) says instead that it faced “an aggressive person” who allegedly injured two police officers.

In a press release dated Thursday and made public on Friday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Senegal reported “a raid of rare violence by Canadian police on August 2 at the home of a Senegalese diplomat serving at the Embassy of Senegal in Ottawa.”

The document states that she was “handcuffed and savagely beaten to the point that she had difficulty breathing, which led to her evacuation by ambulance to hospital.”

The SPVG explains, in a press release published Friday evening, that the police came to “assist a bailiff with an order to be executed” Tuesday around 1:30 p.m.

The person was being “aggressive and refusing to cooperate,” and the police intervened to explain the process. It was at this time that a “policewoman was struck in the face and injured,” the SPVG said.

“The police then decided to arrest the person in order to put an end to the offence, for the safety of those present. The person resisted arrest and bit a second officer. The person was then brought to the ground to be controlled,” police explained.

The bailiff was then able to make his order while the person was “detained in the back of the patrol vehicle, under the supervision of a policewoman.”

“At no time did the person mention having been injured or having pain when questioned,” the SPVG added.

Police said the paramedics intervened with this same person around 3 p.m. and called the SPVG for assistance.

Senegal accuses the police of “humiliating physical and moral violence (on the diplomat), in front of witnesses, and in the presence of her minor children.”

The country says it summoned the charge d’affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Dakar to the Senegalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday. “A note of protest has been served to the Canadian authorities,” it is added.

The Senegalese government is calling for an investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators of this attack, claiming it is a “flagrant breach of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.”

The SPVG emphasizes for its part that it has called on the provincial and federal authorities. A file has been directed “to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) so that charges of assault on an officer and obstruction of police work be filed.”

“Given the context and the allegation that a person was injured during the police intervention, the management of the SPVG discussed the situation with the Ministry of Public Security,” adds the police service.

“Since legal proceedings could ensue,” the SPVG indicates that it will not make any further comment and that it will collaborate in any subsequent action or investigation.

This story by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Aug. 6, 2022.

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