(telegraph) -- Police said the unnamed driver had opened the door of his Porsche directly into the cyclist’s path in Berlin’s fashionable Neukölln district without checking to see if the road was clear.
The 55-year-old cyclist, named only as Michael E under German privacy laws, had no time to brake or swerve out of the way. He was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries.
Police said that under normal circumstances the 51-year-old driver would face investigation and possible prosecution on suspicion of negligent manslaughter.
But prosecutors said they had no choice but to close the case because he has diplomatic immunity.
Around 250 cyclists gathered at the scene of the accident on Thursday night to demand the driver face justice.
“I don’t care if he’s a diplomat or not,” Michael E’s widow, Marina, told Bild newspaper. “He should get his just punishment.”
Her husband had been cycling the route on which he died for 25 years, she said. “Micha was always worried about this road. He said there would be an accident.”
The German foreign ministry has sent a verbal note to the Saudi embassy over the incident. Under diplomatic treaties, the German authorities can ask Saudi Arabia to waive the man’s immunity so he can be prosecuted, or formally expel him.
But diplomats say it is more likely the Saudis will be allowed to withdraw him quietly from the country.
“We were very distressed by the tragic accident in Neukölln,” the Saudi embassy said in a statement. “We are in close contact with the German foreign ministry. In the name of the Saudi Embassy, we would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.”
The tragedy has shone a light on the extraordinarily high number of driving offences by diplomats in Berlin.
According to foreign ministry figures, police recorded 22,880 traffic violations by diplomats last year alone.