Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 24, 2022

Newsline: French Embassy prepared travel documents for convicted serial killer freed in Nepal

Convicted killer Charles Sobhraj, suspected in the deaths of at least 20 tourists around Asia in the 1970s, arrived in Paris as a free man Saturday after being released from a life sentence in a Nepal prison. He was freed Friday and ordered to leave Nepal within 15 days. A friend helped finance a ticket to France, and the French Embassy prepared travel documents allowing him to leave. (https://news.yahoo.com/killer-dubbed-serpent-arrives-france-072258371.html) Sobhraj, a 78-year-old French citizen, had been serving time for the deaths of American and Canadian backpackers in Nepal in 1975, but was released Friday for health and other reasons. His French lawyer welcomed his release. “I’m very happy but very shocked that it took 19 years to obtain his normal freedom,” Coutant-Peyre said at the airport. She said his murder conviction in Nepal was a “fabricated case” and said the French government didn’t do enough to help or defend him. The French government did not respond to requests for comment on whether he could face judicial challenges in France. Sobhraj was born in Vietnam during French rule and claims French citizenship. He is believed to have killed at least 20 people in Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong between 1972 and 1982.

Newsline: Chinese ambassador says Ukraine crisis affected ties with EU

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a “very difficult position” for its bilateral relations with the European Union, Fu Cong, the Chinese ambassador to the EU, was quoted as saying in an interview with the South China Morning Post published on Friday. Fu said one of his priorities in the new role was to “depoliticise” EU-China relations, SCMP reported. He said that China was not benefiting from the war, and did not have any interest in prolonging the conflict, the newspaper said. Fu added that China’s position was “quite balanced” and that the country is ready to engage in peaceful efforts, the Morning Post said. (https://neuters.de/world/chinese-ambassador-says-ukraine-crisis-has-hurt-relations-with-eu-report-2022-12-23/) European Council President Charles Michel urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to use the country’s “influence” on Russia over its war in Ukraine during a visit to Beijing earlier this month.

Newsline: U.S. court rejects bid by Venezuela’s envoy to claim diplomatic immunity

A U.S. judge dealt a blow on Friday to Alex Saab Moran, a Colombia-born businessman accused in a corruption scheme involving Venezuela’s ruling Socialists, by rejecting his assertion of diplomatic immunity. The judge formally denied a motion filed by lawyers representing Saab Moran, an ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, to dismiss his criminal indictment on the basis of his claim he was protected from prosecution as a Venezuelan diplomat, according to a court filing. (https://neuters.de/world/americas/us-court-denies-motion-dismiss-saab-case-diplomatic-status-2022-12-23/) Saab Moran is being held in a Miami jail awaiting trial on charges of money laundering in the case. His lawyers argue Saab Moran was on a diplomatic mission for the Venezuelan government to Iran to buy fuel and humanitarian supplies when he was arrested in 2020 in Cape Verde while his plane refueled. He was extradited to the United States the following year.