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DFA: Panama diplomat in alleged rape case has full immunity

May 11, 2012 9:34am
The Department of Foreign Affairs has maintained that the Panamanian diplomat accused of raping a 19-year-old Filipino woman has full diplomatic immunity as outlined by international law.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Erick Schcks Bairnals, a technical officer of the Panama Maritime Authority, enjoys protection under the 1961 Vienna Convention.

“I want to comment on the fact that according to the Vienna Convention he is a technical and administrative staff of the [Panama] Embassy and as such he is entitled to full diplomatic immunity,” Del Rosario told reporters Wednesday.

Del Rosario made the statement amid a planned Senate investigation on the case of Bairnals, who was released from detention when the DFA issued a certification citing the Panamanian national's immunity from arrest and detention.

The case against the diplomat was likewise dismissed after the prosecutor of Makati City filed a motion to withdraw upon receipt of the DFA’s notice.

Under the convention, diplomats are given immunity from the criminal jurisdiction of the host state, including arrest and detention, Del Rosario said.

Bairnals, 35, was arrested on April 24 after the police received a complaint from his supposed victim.

He allegedly forced the Filipina to sniff a drug before raping her in his apartment on April 23.
Philippine immigration officials said Bairnals is still in the country. Michaela del Callar /LBG, GMA News
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