Pakistan court refuses to release US official, denying immunity
A Pakistan court refused to release Raymond Davis, an employee of the US Embassy in Lahore, saying that diplomatic immunity only goes so far.
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A Pakistani court refused today to release an American official to US authorities, igniting a diplomatic rift between the two countries as well as speculation about the official’s role within the American government.
Embassy employee Raymond Davis is accused of murdering two Pakistan citizens in Lahore last Thursday as The Christian Science Monitor reported then. However, he has claimed that he was acting in self-defense after two men on a motorcycle attempted to rob him at gunpoint, according to a BBC report.
“He is a member of the embassy’s technical administrative staff and therefore entitled to full criminal immunity. He cannot be lawfully arrested or detained in accordance with the Vienna Convention,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Monday, according to an AFP report.
Crowley added that the US government agreed with its employee’s claim that he was acting out of self-defense when confronted by two armed men.
However, according to Pakistani English-language newspaper Dawn, the Pakistani government will decide whether Davis has diplomatic immunity in this situation – not the US.
“I am restraining him [from being handed over to US authorities]. Whether he has or does not have [diplomatic] immunity will be decided by the court,” said Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry, in the Dawn report.