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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > February
Press Statement (Revised)
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 14, 2003


Zimbabwe: Detention of U.S. Diplomat

On February 13, police in a Harare suburb detained and questioned a U.S. diplomat for approximately one hour. This incident marks a serious breach of Zimbabwe’s obligations under international law to protect diplomatic privileges and protections. We have called in the Zimbabwe ambassador in Washington to protest this incident and to demand an inquiry, explanation, and apology. This is the third time in the past year that Zimbabwean government officials or supporters have detained, robbed, threatened or interfered with U.S. diplomats performing official duties. In this incident, the police knew of our diplomat’s status yet chose to detain and question her anyway.

The detention of our diplomat occurred after police violently dispersed law-abiding Zimbabweans and diplomats seeking to attend a public meeting to discuss the crisis in their country. The United States strongly condemns the Zimbabwean government’s violent repression of the exercise of fundamental political rights.

We look to the Government of Zimbabwe to conduct a thorough investigation of the detention and questioning of our diplomat and to provide us with a prompt and thorough explanation. 

Released on February 14, 2003

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