Pakistani authorities have charged a U.S. Embassy security officer with trying to obstruct an investigation into a traffic accident involving an American diplomat on Sunday.
The case increases diplomatic tensions with the United States, weeks after another American diplomat ran a red light in the capital and was involved in an accident in which amotorcyclist was killed.
Police said Sunday’s accident occurred when two motorcyclists collided with a U.S. Embassy vehicle driven by the diplomat. One of the motorcyclists was charged with reckless driving. Police accused the embassy security officer of trying to stop officers from detaining the diplomat.
The U.S. Embassy said the American diplomat’s role in the accident had been resolved.
On April 7, authorities said, the defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy, Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall, ran a red light on a main Islamabad road and collided with a motorcycle carrying two people. One was killed and the other was seriously injured.
U.S. officials expressed their “deep sympathy to the family of the deceased and those injured,” and pledged to fully cooperate with local authorities in the investigation.
Hall’s name has since been placed on Pakistan’s “black list,” preventing him from leaving the country pending a court case against him.
Raja Khalid, deputy attorney general, informed the high court in Islamabad last Tuesday that the U.S. defense attaché could neither be tried nor arrested because the Vienna Conventions guaranteeimmunity to designated diplomats against criminal jurisdiction.
Khalid emphasized the diplomat could be tried only if the U.S. waived his immunity. The court will reconvene this week for a fresh hearing.
The two accidents come amid Islamabad’s increased diplomatic tensionwith Washington over allegations Pakistan harbors terrorist sanctuaries. Pakistani officials say these allegations are baseless.
Last week, a senior State Departmentofficial, Alice Wells, visited Islamabad and took up, among other subjects, Hall’s case in meetings with top foreign ministry officials.
During the talks, Pakistani officials demanded a waiver of diplomatic immunity so that Hall could be prosecuted. But Wells reportedly refused the demand.
The U.S. government also has recently notified Islamabad that Pakistani diplomats in the United States could be placed under new travel restrictions. It remains unclear when the measures could take effect.
Republished With Permission from VOA – Voice Of America
Israel says it has conducted ‘wide-ranging’ air strikes against Hamas
Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets across the Gaza Strip Friday after shots were fired at troops on the border, the army said, with Hamas reporting three members of its military wing killed.
An army statement said shots were fired at troops during renewed protests along the Gaza-Israel frontier and “in response, (Israeli) aircraft and tanks targeted military targets throughout the Gaza Strip.”
The IDF says its warplanes have carried out ‘wide-ranging’ air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to the earlier gunfire.
US Secretary of State Pompeo demands “full enforcement of sanctions” on North Korea
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told United Nations Security Council envoys on Friday that there needs to be “concrete actions” by North Korea before an easing of sanctions on Pyongyang can be discussed, said Dutch U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom.
“The secretary made very clear we need concrete deeds, concrete actions and only then we can start the discussion,” van Oosterom told reporters after Pompeo informally briefed envoys from the 15-member council, Japan and South Korea behind closed doors at the South Korea U.N. mission.
(New York Times)
Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model
President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.
The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.
The recording’s existence further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen on the tape but said the payment was ultimately never made. He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated that the president had done nothing wrong.
“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Mr. Trump had directed Mr. Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, write a check, rather than sending cash, so it could be properly documented.
“In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” Mr. Giuliani.
Mr. Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording as part of their review of the seized materials and shared it with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, according to three people briefed on the matter.
“We have nothing to say on this matter,” Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny J. Davis, said when asked about the tape.
(New York Times)
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