Was Asot entitled to diplomatic privileges?

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The Antigua and Barbuda government is to seek clarity from the U.K. government on its decision to arrest MP Asot Michael who was a government minister transiting that country at the time he was detained.
The government had previously confirmed that Michael was the holder of a diplomatic passport at the time of his arrest. However, the document does not automatically confer diplomatic immunity on its holder.
But Information Minister Melford Nicholas told the media on Friday that the government believes it’s a relevant question in light of the treaty on diplomatic relations to which countries usually adhere. “We think that it is appropriate that the question should be asked and that at all times that the civilities and the protocols that need to be exercised between states are recognised by all states, large and small.”
Michael was arrested on October 23 at Gatwick Airport where he had stopped for a connecting flight to France to attend an event in his capacity as a government minister.  He spent several hours in custody without being charged.
 “We can’t at this stage point a finger to say whether or not there was a breach of the protocol but the question is that there are definitions and there are precedents in relation to how matters like this should be dealt with and so it is appropriate that the question should be asked.”
Pressed on whether the government believed the matter should have been handled differently, Nicholas said they were “jolted” by the way the intervention occurred.
“To the extent that the British government may have been led to believe that they were justified in taking that action is a matter of their own determination but we must now ask the question from the reverse standpoint, whether or not that would have been the prescribed way of handling such a circumstance were it involving a state of a different size,” the government spokesman said.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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