Malaysian diplomat to face sex charges in New Zealand

A Malaysian diplomat accused of burglary and attempted sexual assault in New Zealand had his diplomatic immunity waived and will be returned to New Zealand to face charges, the Malaysia government announced Thursday.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |  July 3, 2014 at 4:04 PM
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand, July 3 (UPI) -- The Malaysian government has waived diplomatic immunity earlier claimed by its envoy to New Zealand who was accused of burglary and attempted sexual assault, and agreed to return him to New Zealand to face the charges.

The Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Second Warrant Officer Muhammad Rizalman Ismail will be sent back to New Zealand "to assist in the investigation for the charges of burglary and assault with attempt to commit rape." He will be accompanied by a senior military officer from the defense ministry.

Wellington District Police Commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle offered a statement that described Muhammad Rizalman's legal situation as "unique and complex."

Although no date has been set for Muhammad Rizalman's return to New Zealand, the superintendent explained the process that will be taken when he arrives. "When someone with a warrant to arrest arrives in New Zealand they are met at the border by Police, arrested and taken to the nearest court. The court can then remand them into custody, release them at large or release them on bail, with or without conditions. At this time the next hearing date is also set."

Muhammad Rizalman has been accused of stalking a 21-year-old woman and attacking her at her home in Wellington on May 9. The diplomat was detained by police and appeared in court the following day but returned to Malaysia with his family on May 22.

The Malaysian government said it "has complete faith" in New Zealand's judicial system, "and has full confidence that Mr. Muhammad Rizalman will be given fair treatment with dignity as provided under the law."

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