April 25, 2006

US seeks trial for accused Russian diplomat

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States asked Russia
on Tuesday to let New York City prosecute a Russian diplomat
accused of driving while drunk and striking a police officer
with his car last weekend.

An official at Russia's Mission to the United Nations said
the mission had received a diplomatic note from the U.S.
government concerning 28-year-old envoy Ilya Morozov, but would
have no immediate comment.

"We are studying this document," the official said.

The request that Morozov be stripped of his diplomatic
immunity was disclosed in a letter made public by John Bolton,
the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

"Should the Russian Federation not agree to a waiver of Mr.
Morozov's immunity, Mr. Morozov will be required to depart the
United States for having abused the privilege of residence
here," Bolton said in the letter, addressed to Marjorie Tiven,
New York City's U.N. liaison.

Tiven had asked that Morozov's immunity be lifted after his
car jumped a curb and struck a New York City police officer on
Saturday while he was driving in Manhattan.

The officer was treated for a knee injury at a nearby
hospital and released.

Bolton in his letter said the diplomat's immunity should be
waived so the New York authorities can try him on "serious
charges ... including felony assault on a police officer and
operating a vehicle with abilities impaired by alcohol."

The police issued seven citations at the site of the
incident but did not arrest Morozov because of his status as a

If stripped of his immunity, he could face criminal charges
punishable by jail and fines, but no decision has been made on
the precise charges that would be filed against him, city law
enforcement authorities said.