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Diplomats have immunity rights against imprisonment, trial and arrest. The embassies can be considered as foreign property and territories within a country and country’s laws are not applicable to these embassies. However, the states have right to declare some diplomats persona non grata( unwanted peerson) and expel those diplomats, for example Obama administration did in December of 2016 towards Russian diplomats.

I would like to talk about one incident. In 1984, there was a massive protest in front of Libyan embassy. Libyans protested Gaddafi administration as two students were hung up. London police officers were ordered to go there and provide stability and let peaceful demonstration to continue but not letting to escalate.

Suddenly, weapons appeared on the embassy and people from embassy began to shot on the protesters. 11 people were hit, including a London police officer Yvonne Fletcher who was only 25 and even unarmed. She was fatally wounded with a sniper bullet and died a hour later.

Tomorrow, Libyan embassy hostage case began and it was surrounded by armed police 11 days, Gaddafi told that Libyan embassy was on attack and ordered his soldiers to siege UK embassy in Tripoli, capital of Libya. Eventually, Britain ended siege process and released all staff on the embassies and expelled them from UK. Also, Libya ended siege process but only 9 months after the detention. UK and Libya cut down diplomatic relations until 1999 when Libyan government accepted publicly general responsilibity of the killing Yvorne Fletcher and  agreed to pay compensation to Fletcher’s family.

Even today it is not still obvious who killed Yvonne Fletcher and who committed these atrocity towards Libyan protesters and London police officers. After civil war, which was followed by Libyan president Muammer Gaddafi’s being killed, the investigations went faster and in 2015, finally some people were arrested, but the case is still not totally closed.

It was a total shocking disaster that guns were used to shut down and kill peaceful protesters in another country, not even in their own territory! Middle East conflict suddenly was on a London street! Unfortunately, Yvonne Fletcher was in wrong place and wrong time and became a victim of atrocity which did not have anything to do with that fellow police officer. But she was a hero and honorable police who had been killed for serving her country’s security purposes. Hopefully, there will not be any atrocity like this which was committed by any foreign government inside another country using embassy’s immunity rights as manipulation.



One thought on “1984… Libya embassy shooting in London.

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