GATINEAU, Que. — The government of Senegal accuses the Canadian police of “savagely” beating one of its diplomats.
The Senegalese Foreign Ministry said the diplomat, who works at the West African country’s embassy in Ottawa, was overpowered and assaulted at her home in Gatineau, Que., on August 2.
She was “handcuffed and savagely beaten to the point that she had difficulty breathing, which resulted in her being taken to hospital by ambulance,” the ministry said in a statement dated Thursday but made public. only Friday.
The ministry did not immediately provide further details on his condition.
The Gatineau Police Service said in a press release, issued Friday evening in response to the Senegalese government’s allegations, that officers were called to assist a bailiff who was trying to enforce a court order on Tuesday afternoon.
Police said the subject of the court order, identified only as a woman with diplomatic status, was “aggressive and refused to cooperate”.
They alleged that when officers tried to explain the process, the woman punched a female police officer in the face.
The officers then decided to arrest the woman “for the safety of everyone present,” the statement said. Police alleged the woman resisted arrest, bit another officer and was then tackled to the ground, where she was restrained.
The bailiff then carried out the court order while the woman was “detained in the back of a patrol vehicle, under the supervision of a police officer”, the police statement said. “At no time did the person mention being injured or in pain when questioned.”
Police said they were called back to the same location, about an hour and a half after they arrived, by paramedics who were treating the woman, but gave no further details, saying only that around 10 people were present.
The Senegalese government said the charge d’affaires at the Canadian embassy in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, has been summoned to the foreign ministry so that officials can “vigorously denounce and strongly condemn this racist and barbaric act”.
A note of protest has been sent to the Canadian government, he said.
“The Government of Senegal has demanded that an investigation be opened without delay and that proceedings be instituted against the perpetrators of this unacceptable attack, which constitutes a serious attack on physical integrity and human dignity, as well as a violation blatant violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Act,” the ministry said.
Gatineau police said they notified provincial and federal authorities of the incident and asked the provincial prosecution service to bring charges of assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer. In Quebec, the decision whether or not to lay charges is made by the prosecution service.
The police department said it would not comment further, due to the possibility of legal action, but would cooperate with any investigation.
Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment Saturday morning.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 6, 2022.
Johanna Pellus, The Canadian Press