New York City Police are blowing the whistle on a Sudanese diplomat who faced criminal charges for allegedly grinding against a woman on the subway and ogling other before he was released because of his diplomatic immunity.
The city’s transit police told the New York Post 49-year-old Mohammad Abdalla Ali, a member of the Sudanese Mission to the United Nations, paced up and down the platform for the uptown 4 train around 2 p.m. Monday eyeing the backsides of numerous women before boarding a crowded train car to grind up against a 38-year-old Brooklyn Heights woman.
Officers allegedly watched Ali, who stands a mere 5 feet 3 inches tall, rub his groin on the woman before arresting the Astoria resident for sexual abuse and forcible touching, charges that were dropped after he proved his diplomatic status, according to NBC New York.
The victim told police the married father of three daughters “positioned himself behind me and repeatedly bumped his pelvis in my side,” according to the post.
“This made me feel very uncomfortable and uneasy,” she said.
Officials with Hollaback, an organization that fights harassment in the city, are outrage that Ali was allowed to walk on the charges.
“What’s disturbing about it is that there are zero consequences for this behavior,” deputy director Debjani Roy told NBC New York. “The fact that the survivor knows this person is out there and there are no consequences is potentially devastating.”
“My concern is that it will happen again, there will be more victims,” she said.
Ali’s wife claimed her husband is innocent in an interview with the Post conducted through an interpreter.
“I have a good husband,” she said. “Everything he does is good. Even in my country, he was never involved in anything like this.”
“He prays ever time,” according to a neighbor who interpreted the conversation. “He could never do that.”
New York attorney Daniel Arshack explained to NBC News that the Vienna Convention treaty protects diplomats like Ali from prosecution in foreign countries, a protection offered to U.S. officials overseas as well.
“One of the elements of the convention is that diplomats of a certain level will not be charged with crimes while they are clocked with their diplomatic status in a foreign country,” he said, adding that the U.S. government can, however, request his removal from the country.
“There is professional fallout for him, it’s just that were not going to actually prosecute him criminally.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner told the news site federal officials are aware of Ali’s situation.
“We are in touch with the NYPD and the mayor’s office so that we are able to take appropriate steps, as needed, to address this matter,” he said.
The Sudanese Mission to the United Nations did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the incident.