Subscribe
The side of a police patrol car in New York City.

The side of a police patrol car in New York City. (Bernhard Richter/Dreamstime/TNS)

NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — The South Sudan diplomat accused of raping a woman in Washington Heights has been recalled to his native country, according to a statement from the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Charles Oliha, 46, managed to dodge a rape charge because of his diplomatic status after being briefly detained by police Sunday night.

By Thursday, he was back in North Africa, some 6,000 miles away from New York City, members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed.

"The leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation took the decision to immediately recall the diplomat in question, pending a full investigation from a specialized committee," the ministry said.

Oliha has been "suspended from his duties, awaiting the outcome of this investigation," the ministry noted.

"It is with regret that our diplomat was involved with an alleged rape incident with one of New York City [sic] residents," the diplomatic office said.

The 24-year-old victim told police she had been out walking her neighbor's dog when Oliha approached her and said he wanted to come to her apartment.

When she told him she wasn't interested, he followed her into her home and raped her, police sources with knowledge of the case said.

The woman had never met Oliha before and reported the attack after a friend convinced her to do so, according to the sources. The woman was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia in Washington Heights, near where she lives, to be evaluated.

Cops took Oliha into custody — but he invoked his diplomatic status, which the NYPD's Intelligence Bureau confirmed was valid. After a discussion with police lawyers, the diplomat, who is assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was released at about 5 a.m. Monday.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office was still "actively investigating" the rape allegation "as well as supporting the survivor through our Witness Aid Services Unit" spokeswoman Emily Tuttle said.

Despite recalling Oliha back home, far from city investigators, the ministry said "sexual misconduct in any shape or form is heinous and wholly unacceptable."

Back in Africa, Oliha is considered a "miscreant diplomat" known for his "undiplomatic behaviors during private functions and going to off-limits places in the areas of his assigned locations," sources told the Sudan Tribune.

Mayen Dut Wol, undersecretary of the Foreign Affairs ministry in the South Sudan, told the paper that no one brought the rape allegation to the ministry in New York, who learned about Oliha being detained on the news.

"Nobody came out to lodge the complaint against one of diplomats at our mission to the United Nations. If such incident has occurred, it would have been brought to our attention through appropriate and official channels," he said. "This has not happened as far as I'm concerned."

Several foreign diplomats have escaped justice in a variety of cases over the years, including two Sudanese diplomats accused in city sex attacks in 2017.

In October 2017, a 23-year-old woman told cops that diplomat Hassan Salih, 36, groped her breasts and buttocks at Bar None on Third Ave. near 13th St. He was cut loose because of his diplomatic status. That January, Mohammad Abdalla Ali was charged with sexual abuse after a woman accused him of grinding on her in a Manhattan subway. He also was freed because of his diplomatic status.

That same year, the wife of an Azerbaijani diplomat walked free after being accused of shoplifting at a Bronx Marshall's store.

©2022 New York Daily News.

Visit at nydailynews.com.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up