Malaysia claims immunity for diplomat who raped New Zealand woman
Malaysia is back in the headlines, this time because they claimed diplomatic immunity for an official attached to the Malaysian High Commission in New Zealand who is accused of sexually assaulting a young woman.
The New Zealand Herald reports that the government of Malaysia filed a formal request to have the charges against the accused attacked, Muhammed Rizalman Bin Ismail, dropped.
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Ismail was named after New Zealand media outlets, including the Herald, sued to have the name released publicly.
Ismail is a junior military official who worked with the Malaysian High Commission, in Wellington, the New Zealand capital, according to the Herald.
The Herald reports that while Malaysia has lobbied the New Zealand government to drop the charges, the government of New Zealand has pushed the Malaysian authorities to press charges against Ismail back in Malaysia, where he fled after the assault on a 21-year-old woman.
BBC reports that Malaysia's Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said that a military commission will be established to look into the matter. He also said that if "absolutely necessary," then Ismail is going to be sent back to New Zealand to face justice.
The Foreign Minister of New Zealand Murray McCully said he believed that the Malaysian authorities would take the proper steps to deliver justice.
Despite these statements from the Foreign Ministry, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has publicly said he would prefer for immunity to be waived so that Ismail can face justice in New Zealand, according to BBC.
Malaysia was previously the focus of international headlines after a commercial flight, MH-370, disappeared into thin air. The plane somehow managed to cross into and out of Malaysian air space numerous times without the Malaysian authorities noticing or tracking the plane. The location of the plane's wreckage has yet to be determined despite international efforts.