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Indian Diplomat Accused of Underpaying Housekeeeper Leaves USA

Illustration for article titled Indian Diplomat Accused of Underpaying Housekeeeper Leaves USA

Devyani Khobragade is making (has already made?) a break for it.

The Indian deputy consul general in New York has reportedly left the United States today, according to CNN, and she was also granted diplomatic immunity.


Khobragade was arrested last year for falsifying documents to gain a work visa for her housekeeper/babysitter. Prosecutors allege that she also under-paid that housekeeper/babysitter, giving her just $3.31 per hour.


Khobragade’s arrest caused an international uproar after she claimed she endured a suspect strip search while in custody. The Indian government reacted swiftly by removing concrete blocks around their country's US Embassy and upgrading Khobragade’s position to give her a shot at diplomatic immunity. She was initially the deputy consul general for political, economic, commercial and women's affairs at the Indian Consulate General.

Some human rights activists say the Indian government is missing the real point, that how Khobragade treated her housekeeper is unacceptable and an international problem. The US government says that it has no plans on dropping the charges against her.

But right now, it looks like Khobragade's gone, baby, gone.

Photo Credit: AP Images

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Just Saying

Diplomats can violate labor laws (and other laws) in a country because they agree to live in places seriously at odds with their values. While I completely support providing visas to victims, I am wildly opposed to prosecution on labor violations, even for trafficking.

How can we have an embassy in Saudi Arabia or China if we have to follow local laws? Women would not be able to open credit accounts from the first; and subverting the Great Firewall of China is illegal in the second. Diplomatic statements would have to be cleared with the host country in high-censorship regimes. Warrants could be used to effectively invade embassies to investigate crimes — regardless of the independence of the judiciary. Diplomacy depends on immunity.