Senegalese government accuses Canadian police of ‘cruel’ assault on Ottawa’s embassy diplomat

The Republic of Senegal says one of its diplomats on duty in Ottawa was beaten at her home by police earlier this week, while Gatineau police in Quebec say its members suppressed and arrested a person who was violent towards officers.

The Embassy of Senegal posted a French-language press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad about Tuesday’s incident on the embassy’s Facebook page on Friday afternoon. The police did not mention the release.

“During this operation, Canadian police inflicted humiliating physical and moral violence on the diplomat in front of witnesses and in the presence of her minor children,” the release said.

“Despite being reminded of the victim’s status as a diplomat and the inviolability of her home, Canadian police officers handcuffed her and beat her so hard that she suffered breathing problems, leading to…evacuation by ambulance to the hospital. “

The ministry’s release did not name the diplomat or specify the location of the house.

CBC has contacted the embassy and ministry for comment.

Police say person was aggressive

In its own French-language press release issued late Friday night, the Gatineau Police Department said its members were assisting a bailiff in carrying out an order and were at the scene around 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

A police spokesman later confirmed that it happened in Gatineau.

“Police have verified that … the legal officer who approved the court order was informed that the person had diplomatic status,” the press release said. “Faced with an aggressive person who refused to cooperate, the police intervened to explain the process and make sure everything went smoothly.”

Police did not specify whether the person was a diplomat at the embassy.

According to the police report, a policewoman was punched in the face during the intervention, prompting the police to arrest the person “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 subdued [and] was held in the back of the patrol vehicle, under the supervision of a policewoman, until the bailiff carried out his order and the situation calmed down,” the release continued.

“At no point did the person say he was injured or in pain when questioned.”

The police release further stated that later that day, shortly after 3 p.m., “paramedics de… [Gatineau Police Service] for help when they were working with this person and there were about 10 people present.”

Call for inquiry

In its release, the government of Senegal said it has called for an immediate investigation and “procedures are being initiated against the perpetrators of this unacceptable aggression, which constitutes a serious attack on the physical integrity of the person and on human dignity.”

The government also called the incident a “blatant” violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“Faced with this situation, the government of Senegal immediately subpoenaed the Canadian embassy in [Senegal’s capital] Dakar to vigorously denounce and condemn this racist and barbaric act,” the government said in its release.

CBC News contacted Global Affairs Canada, who acknowledged the request and said they would respond “as soon as possible.”

The Gatineau Police Department said that, in accordance with the province’s police law, Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Criminal Prosecution (DCPP) was asked Thursday to consider whether there should be a criminal investigation into the actions of officers.

“The [Gatineau Police Service] management will cooperate in full transparency with any subsequent process or investigation,” the press release said.

Police have also asked the DCPP to determine whether allegations of assault against an officer and obstruction of the police force are justified against the person.

Quebec’s Ministry of Public Security was notified of the incident, police said.

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