Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was strip-searched after arrest, confirms US Marshals Service

Written by Reuters | Washington | Updated: Dec 18 2013, 17:49pm hrs
Devyani KhobragadeDeputy Consul General in New York Devyani Khobragade was arrested by US law enforcement authorities on visa fraud charges and released on a USD 250,000 bond after she pleaded not guilty.
The US Marshals Service (USMS) has confirmed that Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade was subjected to "strip search" after her arrest in New York last week, and subjected to the same search procedures as other arrestees.

"As for the type of search, I can only confirm that she was subject to the same search procedures as other USMS arrestees held within the general prisoner population in the Southern District of New York, which in this case was a strip search," USMS spokesperson Nikki Credic-Barrett said.

She insisted that standard intake procedures were followed "While in USMS custody, standard arrestee intake procedures were followed," she said.

In response to a question on putting the her with drug addicts in the cell, she said: "the arrestee was placed in a cell with other female defendants awaiting court proceedings."

She, however, refused to take any position on her arrest, saying said USMS was not the arresting agency and takes no position regarding the appropriateness of her arrest.

The USMS has reviewed its own detention of arrestee Devyani Khobragade and has determined that the USMS, Southern District of New York handled Khobragade's intake and detention in accordance with USMS Policy Directives and Protocols, she said.

Khobragade was arrested on December 12 by the Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and transferred to the USMS pending her initial appearance before a United States Federal Magistrate Judge.

The 1999-batch IFS officer was released on the same day on a USD 250,000 bond after pleading not guilty in court.

On Tuesday, the US virtually justified the reported strip search by New York police of Devyani Khobragade, saying "standard procedures" have been followed during her arrest.

"Diplomatic Security, which is under the State Department purview, followed standard procedures during her arrest," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference.