March 14 Harry Dunn protest cancelled in favour of three simultaneous May 1 rides
A mass ride to the US embassy in London in aid of Harry Dunn on March 14 has been cancelled in favour of three simultaneous trips on Friday May 1 to the US embassy and US consulates in Edinburgh and Belfast. Each group will meet outside their respective embassies at 1pm.
Harry died in August after a collision between his bike and a car outside RAF Croughton, Northants. The driver, Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence officer, returned to the US. The US have refused extradition due to diplomatic immunity. More details to follow.
Protest ride for Harry Dunn - riders to congregate at US embassy in London
First published 26 February 2020 by Andy Calton
A protest ride is to be held on Saturday, March 14, in memory of biker Harry Dunn, who was killed in August last year. The Justice4Harry Green Ribbon Campaign Protest Run will meet on Victoria Embankment at 1pm before setting off towards the US embassy on Nine Elms via Parliament Square, Whitehall and Vauxhall bridge.
Harry was killed when riding past RAF Croughton in August last year and it is believed American citizen Anne Sacoolas was responsible for his death after she allegedly drove out of the base on the wrong side of the road. Despite telling the police she had no intention of leaving the country, she flew back to the US days later under the protection of diplomatic immunity.
Hope had been raised for the Dunn family after the CPS decided to charge Mrs Sacoolas late last year and subsequently applied for the right to extradite her. However the family were dealt a further blow after the US State Department denied the UK’s request for extradition.
The only option remaining would be to hold a trial in absentia and, should she be found guilty, she would effectively be unable to travel outside of the US without risk of being brought to the UK to serve her sentence.
Since the incident, footage has emerged of numerous vehicles on the wrong side of the road around the base, including one car turning straight out of the base on to the right hand side of the road. Despite this commotion, little has been done and the Foreign Office has refused requests for a public inquiry.
There has already been a protest outside RAF Croughton (pictured below) but organisers of the London ride are hoping for a far bigger turnout.
Suspect in fatal motorbike crash uses diplomatic privilege to flee country
First published 08 October 2019 by Andy Calton
The family of a motorcyclist who was killed in an accident outside an RAF base are fighting for justice after the named suspect fled the country using diplomatic immunity status.
Harry Dunn, 19, died after colliding with a car that was being driven on the wrong side of the road. Harry was riding on the B4031 Park End, Croughton, Northants, when he was hit by the car.
Northamptonshire Police have named the suspect as Anne Sacoolas, 42, the wife of a US diplomat – who was questioned at the time of the accident on August 27, but who has since fled back to America.
Now the family is fighting for to have Sacoolas brought back to the UK so that the investigation into the collision can continue. Their battle is supported by Foreign Secretary Dominac Raab, and the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Speaking to the BBC, Johnson said: "I do not think it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose. I hope Anne Sacoolas will come back and engage properly with the processes of law as they are carried out in this country.
"We are raising this with the American Ambassador in the UK, and I hope it will be resolved very shortly. If we can’t resolve it, I will be raising it personally with the White House."
Northants Police said that Sacoolas had agreed not to leave the country when initially questioned. Supt Sarah Johnson confirmed: "We are exploring all opportunities through diplomatic channels to ensure the investigation continues. Harry Dunn’s family deserve justice."
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, also confirmed that he "had written, in the strongest terms, to the US Embassy urging them to apply the diplomatic immunity waiver."
With extraordinary dignity, Harry’s mother, Charlotte Charles, was interviewed on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, saying: "[It was] unintentional. She didn’t purposely drive on the other side of the road... if she’d have stayed and faced us as a family we could have found that forgiveness... but forgiving her for leaving, I’m nowhere near."
The US State Department has confirmed that it is in discussions with British officials and is reported to have conveyed its "deepest sympathies" to Dunn’s family following the accident.
A crowdfunding page set up to help raise funds to cover any legal costs has almost reached £10,000 (gofundme/justice4harry).
What is diplomatic immunity?
Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal protection afforded under the 1961 Vienna Convention.
It states that diplomats and family members are immune from prosecution in their host country, as long as they are not nationals of that country.
However, their immunity can be waived by the country that employs them. Diplomats are obliged to respect the laws of their host country, but the provision can be misused as a 'get out of jail free' card.