Canada

Russia rejects request to waive diplomatic immunity in Ottawa crash

Canada's request to have two Russian diplomats stand trial on drunk driving charges was turned down by the Kremlin on Monday.

On Sunday, Canada had asked Moscow to lift the Russians' diplomatic immunity after two separate incidents one of which left a woman dead and another injured in Ottawa.

The Reuters news agency says the Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Canadian ambassador Rodney Irwin has been told of the decision.

The statement says Russian authorities in Moscow would investigate the incident and any trial would be conducted under Russian law.

The women were walking a dog Saturday afternoon, when a car veered onto the sidewalk and struck them.

Catherine MacLean, 50, died at the scene of the crash. The second woman was injured, but is expected to be OK. The dog was euthanized.

Police say the 45-year-old driver, who is the third-ranking diplomat at the embassy, immediately claimed diplomatic immunity.

Under the Vienna Convention, diplomats and their family members can be charged with crimes but are immune from criminal prosecution and civil liability. In some cases, they can be expelled from the country where they're posted.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley said Sunday that diplomatic immunity should be restricted to cases where "individuals are actually carrying out their responsibilities."

"This is a case where we can't presume somebody's guilty," he said. "But we would urge the Russians to let him stand trial and plead as he sees fit, and be tried by a Canadian court."

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