Charles Dickens Imene Oliha, 46, who works for the South Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, allegedly assaulted a neighbor in her apartment Sunday afternoon, the New York Post reported. He was brought in for questioning by detectives from the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit, but released after informing police he was beyond the law.
“It’s incredibly disturbing that someone who is accused of rape cannot be held accountable no matter what the facts,” Jane Manning, director of the Women’s Equal Justice project and a former sex-crimes prosecutor, told The Post. “I hope that the NYPD detectives will still do a full and thorough investigation to establish what the evidence shows.”
— New York Post (@nypost) August 22, 2022
According to the report, the victim said she was going to walk another neighbor’s dog when the suspect approached her in the lobby and followed her upstairs to her apartment. When she entered her apartment, the suspect pushed his way inside, according to police.
Inside the apartment, the suspect allegedly raped her twice. The victim said she went into shock and fell asleep, but later called 911 on the advice of a friend.
Oliha was arrested nearly 12 hours later, but was released around 5 a.m. Monday.
It was not immediately known what legal steps the city could take.
“This remains an ongoing investigation,” Deputy Commissioner Julian Phillips told the New York Daily News.
The Post sent reporters to Oliha’s apartment, where two women answered the door and declined comment. The newspaper reached the deputy permanent representative for South Sudan’s embassy, Cecilia Adeng, who said she was only just hearing about the accusation.
“Of course this is not something that’s tolerable at all,” she said. “So we’ll be reporting to our headquarters and seeing what’s going on.”
Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, which was ratified by 187 countries, diplomats “shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention.” The immunity has been invoked in a wide range of transgressions, from parking tickets to rape and murder. But under the law, the U.S. could still eject Oliha from the country.