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Terrorism & Security

Pakistan court extends detention of US official despite growing pressure from US

A Pakistan judge further extended the detention of a US official accused of shooting two Pakistani men, increasing already-existing diplomatic strain between the countries.

By Correspondent / February 11, 2011

Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamat-e-Islami chant slogans during a rally against Raymond Allen Davis, a US consulate employee suspected in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis, in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Feb. 11.

Fareed Khan/AP

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A Pakistani judge has ordered the American embassy worker accused of shooting two locals in Lahore to another two weeks in prison while the court prepares murder charges to be brought against him.

The detention of Raymond Davis, who alleges that he killed the men in self-defense during an attempted robbery, has added an additional layer of frost to US-Pakistan relations. This diplomatic standoff could prove particularly problematic for American officials trying to win Pakistani support for the war effort in Afghanistan.

US officials contend that Mr. Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be returned to American custody immediately. On Friday, the accused man’s lawyer filed a petition for his immediate release and questioned the Pakistani court’s authority to try Davis. A judge will hear arguments from Davis's attorney on Feb. 25, reports CNN.

As Pakistan continues to delay the release, ABC News reports that National Security Advisor Tom Donilon summoned Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, and threatened to expel him from the country, close US consulates in Pakistan, and cancel the Pakistani president’s upcoming US visit if Davis is not released by Friday.

Although several unnamed Pakistani and American officials have confirmed these reports, Mr. Haqqani denied on Twitter that no “US official, incl the NSA, has conveyed any personal threats 2 me or spoken of extreme measures."

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