Fletcher in the News

Lawmakers Want Turkey to Pay for D.C. Violence, but so Far it’s U.S. Residents Facing Charges: Prof. Hannum Comments in The Huffington Post

Washington officials want Turkey to pay a price for its presidential security detail’s alleged role in beating up anti-government protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said the Turkish ambassador should be asked to leave the U.S., and the day before, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to explore bringing criminal charges against the men captured on video attacking demonstrators...

...The Metropolitan Police Department has said it is working with the State Department and Secret Service to find and hold accountable anyone involved in the altercation. Two people with knowledge of the case told the Washington Post that police are investigating Erdogan’s security team. But it is not clear whether U.S. officials will be able or willing to prosecute anyone on the Turkish president’s payroll.

“Unless the bodyguards were clearly acting outside their bodyguard duties, they are probably immune from prosecution. While the specific facts of the incident… are important, they are similar to diplomatic drivers, who also enjoy immunity if, for instance they are involved in a traffic accident,” Hurst Hannum, an international law professor at Tufts University, wrote in a Wednesday email to HuffPost. “While this seems unfair to many people, U.S. diplomats and their staff enjoy exactly the same immunity in other countries.”

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