So I found a story about 'Joeseph Dahan,' who was found and released from inside an Egyptian diplomatic bag being sent from Italy to Egypt. Is a diplomatic bag with a person inside it inviolable?


1 Answer 1


No, a diplomatic bag with a person inside of it is not inviolable because it is not considered a diplomatic bag.

Article 27 of the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations covers the protection of diplomatic correspondence, with sections 3 and 4 being the most relevant here:

3.The diplomatic bag shall not be opened or detained.

4.The packages constituting the diplomatic bag must bear visible external marks of their character and may contain only diplomatic documents or articles intended for official use.

So, diplomatic bags are completely protected from being opened or detained, but they may only contain documents. Since I'm sure nobody would consider a person a "diplomatic document" or "official article" then putting a person inside a diplomatic bag disqualifies it from protection.

However, if the person is covered in tattooed diplomatic messages they might be considered a diplomatic document...

  • 2
    How do you find out it’s not a diplomatic bag without violating the immunity of what looks like and is claimed to be a diplomatic bag?
    – chirlu
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:01
  • @chirlu: I agree it's a bit circular, since only after opening the bag can they prove they were allowed the open the bag. A separate(and much harder to answer) question would be if there is any sort of 'probable cause' protection for the opener, since there's no mention of anything like that in the Vienna Convention.
    – Giter
    Oct 3, 2018 at 15:09
  • It has been tried a second time, only foiled because the country didn't have the proper paper work. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dikko_Affair
    – CSM
    Oct 6, 2018 at 10:49

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