Anger in Berlin after Saudi driver who killed cyclist claims diplomatic immunity

Anger in Berlin after Saudi driver who killed cyclist claims diplomatic immunity
Anger in Berlin after Saudi driver who killed cyclist claims diplomatic immunity

The tragedy has shone a light on the extraordinarily high number of driving offences by diplomats in Berlin.

According to foreign ministry figures, police recorded 22,880 traffic violations by diplomats last year alone.

22,880 in one year in one city

Imagine the bullshit these diplomats are doing worldwide? Its like a license to be a complete cunt with zero repercussions

People move to the shoulder of the road for emergency vehicles in America too.

It's almost like if you raise a person in a palace with servants and extreme wealth and tell them for their entire lives that they can do whatever they want to whoever they want because of how rich they are and then give them another special pass that says they can do whatever they want but this one says "diplomat" on it so they feel extra important it makes them a shitty person.

German here, some facts here:

The diplomat parked at a spot he wasnt allowed. the bike was riding on the bike lane, which is about 1 meter away form the street the bike rider wasn't so fast, it was all just really bad timing or perfect timing if you are evil the bike rider didn't wear a helmet under german law, all fault is by the diplomat and it would be prosecuted as involuntary manslaughter

dear people of the anglo-sphere please look up german bike lanes to see that it needs effort to kill someone with a cardoor.

edit: there is a big problem with foreign drivers. For example there was a case on the autobahn, a emergency vehicle had to go through standing cars, normally all cars move to the side. But in this case a group of about 20 foreign cars just didn't move. The first helper had to walk 2 km by foot to the accident. This is so outrageous for germans that it was national news. I talked to Americans who didn't understand the problem, because it happens all the time. Just mindblowing

As a cyclist, I have to just remind people to stay out of the door zone. Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether the person is held accountable if you end up dead. You are still dead. I still think that people should be held accountable, and I'm glad they've recently enacted laws in my country fining people who hit cyclists with their doors, but regardless of the punishment, if you end up dead or in a wheelchair, nothing that happens to the perpetrator is going to reverse that.

Lol seriously. I've never seen anybody not move to the side of the road for emergency vehicles.

This is why vigilantism was invented, I guess

Somehow I don't think it's the Latvian diplomats I see in the red and yellow Lamborghinis.

I talked to Americans who didn't understand the problem.

Were you at a pre-school? If you don't move for an emergency vehicle I'm pretty sure they'd drive through your ass here in NJ.

That only works if the bike lane is not in the door zone.

Well I don't know what Mad Max shithole corner of the country you live in and apparently never left because I've stayed in most states long enough to know that the overwhelming majority pull over for emergency vehicles and give space to stopped officers and pedestrians on the side of the road. I've seen this one time in South Carolina and he immediately got pulled over by an officer.

I have NEVER heard of that happening here in the US.

"It's just been revoked" ...

I actually have some insight into this. I was raised in London by my mother who was a US diplomat. Congestion charges (areas you are charged to drive through during certain times in central London) are considered a tax by the US government which US diplomats are legally exempt from in the UK. It's something that gets argued back in forth on both sides but it's not like diplomats are flagrantly violating traffic laws. We still paid for parking and obeyed the signs. It's just this specific issue there is disagreement over.

"I don't need an ambulance, why should I move?!"

As an American, I feel pretty ashamed that US diplomats would do this, especially to one of our closest allies.

The title is misleading, better to describe him as a Saudi opening a car door. While he should have looked, I strongly suspect there's more to blame than just this Saudi guy.

Diplomatic immunity is just another "Get out of jail free" card played by the rich and powerful. The law should not apply when a death is involved....ever!

True .. I recollect this this issue that happened in 2015 when a couple of Saudi diplomats accused of raping their maids just walked out free using their immunity

Come to Miami. You will.

We still move to the side of the road for funeral processions in the Southeast. More commonly now I see people just stop in the road and let's ambulances go by.

I talked to Americans who didn't understand the problem, because it happens all the time.

That's odd because you have to get the fuck out of the way in America too. There's nothing more anxiety inducing than being the one idiot in front of an ambulance blaring their siren and horn behind you. I swear some people would get out and physically lift their car out the way if they could.

It's an "accident" in the same way that running a red light and causing a wreck is an "accident".

It may not have been intentional, but a lapse in the judgment of the motorist is what ultimately created a situation that led to a death.

I say this as an accused "anti-cyclist" in a US state with horrible cycling amenities. My beef generally stems from resentment of cyclists who, in the absence of bike lanes, do unpredictable things like ride in the wrong direction, weave, use crosswalks like pedestrians, and shoot into the road from a random point on the sidewalk that's obscured by parked cars.

Motorists whipping their doors open into oncoming traffic, however, is an egregious act of self-importance and disregard for others whether that traffic is motor, bike, or foot, the same as running a red light.

This time a man died. It may be an "accident" but the blame lies squarely on the person who didn't follow the rules of the road. It was not an unavoidable freak occurrence to walk from scot free.

Yeah, Americans pull over to the side and stop for ambulances, firetrucks, cop cars blaring their sirens/lights and hearses.

In Florida we move over for emergency vehicles as well, it's law. I've never ever seen otherwise.

When the bike lane is in the door zone, I just use the car lane.

I ride my bike all the time and I ride as if I am going to get killed. Which works because I am extremely vulnerable and overmatched by cars and trucks. There are people I see that ride their bikes with a sense of privilege and expect drivers to be cautious. Unfortunately it only takes one not cautious driver for them to be wrong forever.

Am a cyclist, I hate taking up a whole lane when I can't manage the 30 mph speed limit comfortable especially with stop signs everywhere. But then when I pull over a bit to make it easy to pass, I get ass holes consistently passing me with only inches to spare. There are dick cyclists and dick drivers. And the dick drivers often force considerate cyclists into biking very defensively. If there was better biking infrastructure a lot fewer cyclists would look like dicks.

So, I honestly don't care about the perpetrator being from Saudi Arabia, I know some people will gather here and spout bigoted comments, that's bound to happen. But, this dude needs to face some sort of punishment. Because of his negligence, an innocent person died. That is not okay.

Cemeteries are full of people who had the right of way

Now you know why they start with a zero.

Zero fucks give due to zero repercussions.

Had one cut me of while he ran a red light and made an illegal u-turn on an intersection WITH the police present who measured speed limits.

They just went "well we can't do shit."

Now you know why they start with a zero.

Zero fucks give due to zero repercussions.

Had one cut me of while he ran a red light and made an illegal u-turn on an intersection WITH the police present who measured speed limits.

They just went "well we can't do shit."

I went to an international school that was connected to an embassy. Most of the kids there were the kids of diplomats - mostly American but some other countries as well.

I remember even in ninth and tenth grade us kids would smoke pot out in parks and stuff...the cops in this city were pretty lax about it, but I generally used to get a little nervous about being super obvious about it. All of the diplomat kids would just say "I don't care, they can't do anything to me, I have diplomatic immunity"

So these shitty diplomats were basically teaching their shitty kids at the age of 14 to not care about the laws of the place they were living in, telling them they're immune from that, while at the same time never shutting up about how they're raising informed global citizens. It's a toxic fucking community.

You forgot the people that move out of the way and then swerve back in to tailgate the ambulance so that they can skip all the traffic.

As of right now there isn't a single comment in this entire thread that seriously hints at what you're implying.

The only hurr durr motherfucker here is you.

Haven't you heard that blaming Americans for everything is the new trend on reddit?

We don't generally punish people criminally for negligence. We are all negligent at brief moments throughout every day -- our minds wander, we act before thinking. That's just being human not robotic.

There are egregious applications of diplomatic immunity but IMO this isn't one. This is a tragic accident. The driver should've checked. The bike rider should not have been driving past car doors at death-causing speed. The lane design should've been safer. It is all so sad but there is no villain besides human frailty.

Americans do understand this and they do move out of the way. You're reading anti-american propaganda

“We were very distressed by the tragic accident in Neukölln,” the Saudi embassy said in a statement. “We are in close contact with the German foreign ministry. In the name of the Saudi Embassy, ​​we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.”

Well, they said they are sorry so it's okay now, right? /s

I'm from Florida and I see people move to the side all the time.

Many places have servants. Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations have straight up slavery.

The reason there is no loophole, even for things like death is that it would not be too hard for one government to frame a foreign diplomat for murder to justify arresting them. With the current system they can still frame the diplomat if they really want, but that diplomat gets full due process rights with their governmsnt and the host government to work out the facts without the diplomat being arrested. A scurrilous and baseless accusation may still result in the diplomat being expelled or withdrawn from the country, but the truth will eventually come out and the host government can't do anything until the diplomat's country has investigated the accusations themselves. It is a necessary check to minimize the use of diplomat's as bargaining chips/pawns.

On top of delaying a response to an emergency situation, you can absolutely get a fine if you're caught.

Make it damn inconvenient is what you do. Pull them over every freaking time. "Oh, just checking your credentials." "We had reports of fake diplomatic plates so we run them every time" "Just wanted to tell you about the traffic in the area- you've got five minutes, right?"

I don't really understand how it's not just an accident.

In America we will drive off the goddamn road to let emergency services pass by, not sure where that's coming from. Also, there's just so many foreign drivers in America, but they aren't bad. The worst group of drivers is obviously the American teenagers as indicated by insurance rates, common sense and incidents.

Miami is. The worse city I ever had the displeasure of living in.

true, in this case i wonder at how fast this cyclist was traveling to cause his death. cyclists need to respect road laws. don't overspeed especially near crossings or in this case car doors. it's really an unfortunate incident but i find cyclist equally responsible for overspeeding between car doors and pavement.

If you live in London or any city with narrow streets your advice is useless, buses on one side and parked cars on the other. The only real safe way to cycle is to take the whole lane which arseholes like you constantly complain about!

As someone raised by a US diplomat I was taught that if I committed a crime the US would not invoke immunity. US diplomatic immunity is strictly controlled and I was taught to live as if I did not have it as I pretty much did not. It's more for situations where protection is needed against areas with more draconian laws or corrupt police which some diplomats find themselves in.

Similar thing happened in Canada in the late 90s. Russian diplomat kills someone while drinking and driving, claims diplomatic immunity. However, he did get convicted of manslaughter in a Russia and served four years in jail. This German incident seems like carelessness by the Saudi driver, not checking the road before opening his door.

Doesn't work in my city. Law states that if a bike lane exists then it must be used unless turning.

Last week's report from the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) confirms other research in this area, such as a 2013 University of Adelaide study that examined police crash records and found drivers caused four in every five crashes between cars and bicycles.

These results are similar to a Monash University study in which researchers examined camera footage of similar incidents. They found that drivers were responsible for the actions preceding the incident in 87 per cent of cases.

The previous studies show that most of these crashes occur at intersections, and generally involve a cyclist travelling in a straight line on a single carriageway at the time of the collision with the motor vehicle.

The Turkish embassy case makes me think we shouldn't even have diplomatic immunity be a thing at all.

The point is so they can't just randomly be arrested and charged with shit unfairly?

That's already a law. You can't corruptly arrest someone for nothing. That's illegal to do to anyone.

SO how about we actually hold diplomats accountable to laws of nations they are in? What's the actual downside here?

Then they went and raped their maids also? Amazing!

This immunity rule is outdated and dumb af . It was introduced so people couldn't be imprisoned for political reasons (when two countries hate each other so they just put every ambassador into prison ) and stuff.

But if YOU personally fuck something up , destroy property, steal something or harm/kill someone then you should still have to deal with consequences. In Germany people with diplomatic immunity broke more than 23000 rules in the last year's . And over 30 people were harmed and couple of them badly .

So when someone drives clearly too fast, runs over your dad and he has to sit in a wheelchair for his entire life , can't earn any money and your family loses the house - nothing will happen lmao .

Ridiculous and pathetic

I feel like if I were a diplomat with kids, the idea that they can't get in trouble for breaking laws is something I'd push back on and essentially make sure they are in big trouble at home if they're caught. Not only because its the right thing to do - but also god forbid they become adults with that attitude toward the law and end up in trouble later down the road because of it. They aren't always going to be protected.

It's more useful than you think. It stops countries like Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, etc from arresting diplomatic people on false charges as a result of politics. Someone from Germany said something SA doesn't like, SA arrests their diplomat for some random charge, often embarrassing charges like prostitution or something. Then Germany has to negotiate the extradition of their citizen. This already happens with nationals from those countries, the only difference being the political importance of diplomatic agents and the information they may reveal during 'enhanced interrogation'.

It's useful when it's done right. Some countries just routinely fuck it up because they're backward shitholes.

It's​ actually illegal not to stop for a funeral procession in my state


I hope so! As I understand it, this kind of ignorance might happen more often. Beside that case and one other one last year it never happens here. Also you would lose your license.

edit: because of that one case last year, alot of Pope up on youtube

So you talk a single american yet say americans in the plural in your original comment. Wow.

I assume this is related to how diplomat positions are often offered as rewards for political allies, friends, family

As a cyclist, I know the world is full of people trying to kill me.

On motorbikes we say: "Be right, but don't be dead right"

This probably has more to due with the US having more diplomats and a bigger embassy than most countries(in the U.K.). Your close allies are going to have many more people in the host country than an enemy.

We have bike lanes here in europe and cyclists are a super common sight. if you park on the side of the street you have to check if there is someone approaching. Yes you have to check. Yes every time. Honestly i cant even imagine opening my car door without looking first that just Sounds totally stupid. And since he didnt do it he is at fault. Simple as that.

Paramedic here. You should do one ride along shift on a 911 ambulance. Generally people move over, but you'd be surprised by the amount of people that just stop right in the middle of the road or go into oncoming traffic to get out of the way.

English is not his first language. Chill out.

I live in Chicago and many times there just isn't the space to move to the side to. To my understanding most people here will either stop where they are or continue until they can fully get out of the way

That's terrible.

Los Angeles checking in. Happens here as well. Ambulance coming? Let's just stop in the middle of the road...

Don't, UN diplomats in New York alone cost 16 million in tickets in what I think is the same time period. It's a problem everywhere.


justice should be equal to everyone one. not change due to offenders nationality.

Did you even read the article? The whole point is that the guy's status as a diplomat is the only reason that he is not being at least investigated. Nobody's saying "He's a Saudi, he must be guilty!"

Police said that under normal circumstances the 51-year-old driver would face investigation and possible prosecution on suspicion of negligent manslaughter.

But prosecutors said they had no choice but to close the case because he has diplomatic immunity.

Diplomatic immunity goes both ways. US laws may be relatively sound and fair, but other countries can vary widely. If the US starts prosecuting or arresting diplomats, even for perfectly just reasons, it puts the safety of our own foreign staff under real threat. It sucks there are shitty people from corrupt countries that take advantage of it, but our foreign diplomats and staff enjoy minimal meddling and threats due to the tit for tat nature of diplomatic immunity. It also is not applied very broadly, and I believe full diplomatic immunity is only applied to high ranking people like ambassador, consul, charge de affairs, etc.

The driver opened the door of his car to get out - a perfectly legal activity you likely do several times every day - and the cyclist ran into the door. Can you honestly claim that YOU have, EVERY time, ALL the time, checked your rear-view mirror prior to opening your car door?

Yes, whenever I open the door in traffic it's usually the main priority to check that the road is clear. Mainly because I don't want to die when I step out.

I'm a motorcyclist. [...] We don't ride down a street where cars are parked so closely to the right that a suddenly-opened car door will have us running into it. Instead we hug the center-stripe in the road. We're on the look-out for brake lights on cars parked to our right, indicating driver activity.

Sure, and I pay extra attention to things like parked cars on the side of the road when I drive a car too. If they were to cause an accident it's not my fault but that doesn't mean I want to get in an accident.

Police said that under normal circumstances the 51-year-old driver would face investigation and possible prosecution on suspicion of negligent manslaughter.

But prosecutors said they had no choice but to close the case because he has diplomatic immunity.

As you can see, a normal person would have been under investigation.

Accidents DO happen, that's why we came up with the word 'accident' in the first place.

Accident only means it wasn't intentional. If the accident was caused by his neglect then he is still at fault. I'm not saying they should persecute him for murder as he clearly didn't open the door with intent to kill the guy.

Nevada is the only state (Nev. Rev. Stat. § 484B.700) That explicitly allows Funeral Processions to blow red lights while also yielding to them all right-of-way (except for emergency vehicles.)

In most states its illegal to interfere with one, but that's not the same thing as unlimited right of way.

I know Kentucky, Arizona, Montana and North Dakota all have statute very similar to Idaho (Delaware is an edge-case which could be argued to fit in this grouping as well):

Idaho Code § 49-2701

(3) "Funeral escort vehicle" means any motor vehicle properly equipped pursuant to section 49-2702, Idaho Code, and which escort facilitates the funeral procession and serves to direct traffic as provided in this section. (4) Pedestrians and operators of all vehicles, except as stated in subsection (7) of this section, shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which is part of a funeral procession being led by a funeral escort vehicle or a funeral lead vehicle. (5) Whenever the funeral escort vehicle or funeral lead vehicle in a funeral procession enters an intersection, the remainder of the vehicles in such funeral procession may continue to follow the funeral lead vehicle through the intersection, notwithstanding any traffic control device or right-of-way provisions prescribed by statute or local ordinance, provided the operator of each vehicle exercises reasonable care toward any other vehicle or pedestrian on the roadway.

Then there are 14 states which are similar to Missouri, which require the lead car to be marked, and to reasonably follow traffic direction, and allows the procession right of way through intersections on the condition that the signal was green for the lead car. it's a vastly expanded right-of-way, but not on the Idaho level and far from Nevada levels.

New Jersey and California have statutes on the books that limit the rights of funerary processions from blocking traffic/blowing signals/et al.

This is from 2015, the Saudis sounds like real charmers

Fuck this broken world and the traitors who make it so.

He was also parking where there was no stopping allowed, but yes, this was less of a killed somebody by reckless driving and more of a opened the door at the wrong moment without looking thing.

I mean, they could have said "haha, stupid cyclist.. immunity!" It doesn't make it ok, but shitting on an apology is not exactly better.

Just like your momma

An American here, boggles my mind that other americans don't understand the common courtesy of pulling to the side to allow emergency services to have a right of way.

It's the same here in NYC, but that's why cyclists here largely ignore the traffic laws - for their own safety.

as just just a regular driver, my dad taught me to assume all other drivers are out to kill me, and despite right of way, me in my little car will never beat a big old semi. no matter who legally is right. has kept me alive so far

Most Americans move to the side but it can be confusing because some Americans move to left or right side. This hasn't been a big problem but what I've been seeing alot over the years is whenever there's a firetruck or an ambulance driving towards an intersection, there's always some fucking dumbass that always tries to beat the intersection before the light turns red. That always infuriates me because it puts the first responders in danger and it could cost a second accident on top of the first.

Motorists want it both ways, they want the rights of motor vehicles, but don't think they should have to follow the same rules when it's inconvenient to them. They want to be entitled to the whole lane, but don't think there's a problem with them going so fast that they cause accidents. They think they are entitled to cruise through lanes without using blinkers because it's inconvenient.

uses pickup to rip tire off diplomats car

This should be punished with a roadside execution.

Yea, its very important to get out of the way here in the states but some people are dumbasses. I would say 95% get out of the way and 4.5% are too busy texting to notice but they will get a nudge from the amberlance to move and do so readily then. In the states, ambulances but especially fire trucks with out a patient in the back will totally "rub" you though.

Car drivers are overwhelmingly the cause of accidents with cyclists. Your anecdote about your vague recollection of stuff you say happened to you notwithstanding.

I talked to Americans who didn't understand the problem, because it happens all the time. Just mindblowing

Nah, it's pretty much universal here that you get over for emergency vehicles. If you don't, they take your tag number and report you. I don't know who you talked to, but they either don't drive or are very new to driving.

Its negligence, if you kill someone with your car, even if it is an accident, it is still a crime.

Shit, most major highways and along the interstate system in the US have signs every few miles that warn people if you fail to yield for emergency vehicles/switch lanes to give cars along the shoulder of the road proper space, your ass can be pulled over and fined big time. German guy sounds like he's just trying to make a HURR DURR AMERICUUUNNS statement, tbh.

With the exception of his use of diplomatic immunity to avoid prosecution or any legal ramifications for manslaughter. I'd be curious if the family has been or will be offered a financial settlement.

From the article:

police recorded 22,880 traffic violations by diplomats last year alone.

Apparently diplomats have a lot of trouble with:

"We are all negligent at brief moments throughout every day -- our minds wander, we act before thinking."

And he could be prosecuted if the SA embassy revoked his diplomatic status, but that is not going to happen.

There was an old PSA campaign in the US about driving safety and right of way that sums that up really well: "He was right. Dead right."

You might be legally entitled to that spot on the road, but don't take it at the cost of your life.

Where did they say Saudi? Oh, they didn't, you are the one making assumptions and being a complete wanker. Nicely done. Projection maybe?

You are suppose to pull over here in Massachusetts, people are braindead though. You'll have emergency vehicles sounding their siren with their lights flashing and you'll have many people oblivious like they are out for a Sunday drive. Basically half the people will pull over and others will just sit there stupidly blocking the road.