US maintain position on extradition of Harry Dunn suspect as ‘final’

Josh Payne, PA
·3-min read

The US State Department has reiterated its position on the extradition of Harry Dunn’s alleged killer – describing their decision as “final”.

The PA news agency understands Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab raised the case with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in their telephone conversation on Wednesday.

But State Department spokesman Ned Price is the first member of President Joe Biden’s administration to speak about the case and maintained the position that Anne Sacoolas would not be extradited to the UK.

Harry Dunn
It is understood Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab raised the case with the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Foreign Office also repeated its position by labelling the extradition refusal a “denial of justice”.

Mr Dunn’s mother, Charlotte Charles, told PA she is still confident she will get justice for her son and reissued her plea to the President to look at the case personally.

The 19-year-old was killed when a car crashed into his motorbike outside US military base RAF Croughton in August 2019.

US citizen Sacoolas, 43, had diplomatic immunity asserted on her behalf after the crash and she was able to return to her home country.

Harry Dunn death
Charlotte Charles said she remained confident she would get justice for her son (Ben Birchall/PA)

She was later charged with causing death by dangerous driving but a Home Office extradition request was declined by the US State Department in January last year.

Mr Price did not say what other avenues were being explored to reach a resolution in the case.

He told PA in a statement: “We again offer our sincere condolences and sympathy to the Dunn family for the loss of their son. This was a tragic accident.

“Since the tragic accident occurred, the United States has been closely engaged with the UK Government and we have been transparent about our positions on legal and diplomatic matters concerning this accident.

“The United States government has declined the United Kingdom’s request for extradition of a US citizen involved in a tragic vehicle accident that occurred in the United Kingdom.

“Our decision in that regard was final.

“At the time the accident occurred, and for the duration of her stay in the UK, the US citizen driver in this case had immunity from criminal jurisdiction.”

Mrs Charles said the family’s spokesman was continuing to have conversations with officials in Washington and London despite Mr Price’s words.

Responding to the US State Department’s statement, Harry Dunn’s mother Charlotte Charles told the PA news agency: “This statement from the State Department comes as no surprise.

Harry Dunn death
Mrs Charles said the family’s spokesman continued to have discussions with officials in Washington and London (David Mirzoeff/PA)

“It is a repeat of exactly what they have said before as their public position on the case.

“The bottom line is that this is not what diplomatic immunity is to be used for between two friendly countries and the State Department knows that.

“Our spokesperson Radd Seiger is having conversations with officials in Washington and London, and remains absolutely confident that we will get justice for Harry.

“You do not get to kill someone and walk away no matter who you are and I maintain my direct appeal to President Biden and his new Secretary of State Tony Blinken to do the right thing. It is the only way forward.

“We are very pleased that Dominic Raab raised the case with Secretary of State Blinken and the issue of denial of our justice.”

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We believe the US’s refusal to extradite Anne Sacoolas amounts to a denial of justice and we continue to support the Dunn family to seek justice for Harry.

“The Foreign Secretary raised the case in his first discussion with Secretary Blinken.”