Davis insists he has diplomatic immunity

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 00:12

Lahore: US national Raymond Davis, an
alleged CIA contractor who was arrested for gunning down two
men here, on Monday insisted he acted in self defence and had
diplomatic immunity during a hearing into murder charges
against him at a Pakistani court, which adjourned the trial
till March 3.

Davis was handcuffed during the proceedings and the
makeshift courtroom was guarded by scores of armed policemen.

Prosecution lawyer Abdus Samad told the media outside
the heavily guarded Kot Lakhpat Jail, where the trial is
being conducted behind closed doors for security reasons
that Davis is expected to be formally indicted at the next
hearing.

No counsel represented Davis during today`s
proceedings and Additional District and Sessions Judge Yousuf
Aujla advised him to select a lawyer to defend him before the
next hearing, Samad said.

Davis, 36, refused to sign the copy of the
charge-sheet that was given to him and filed an application in
which he insisted that he had immunity.

"All documents and the challan (charge-sheet) were
presented to Davis by the court. He (Davis) said he does not
understand Urdu so he was given an English version of the
documents," Samad said.

"After being given the documents, he refused to
receive them," he said.

Sources said Davis informed the judge that he had shot
and killed the two men in self-defence.

He said he had immunity and Pakistani courts could not
take action against him, the sources added.

The proceedings were observed by senior officials of
the US consulate in Lahore, including Consul General Carmela
Conroy.

Relatives of the two men gunned down by Davis told
media outside the jail that they wanted justice and would not
accept any "blood money" deal under Islamic laws.

Today`s proceedings were held in Kot Lakhpat Jail
after the judge accepted the Punjab government`s request to
hold the trial within the prison for security reasons.

Davis is currently being held in the same jail.
Davis could not be produced in the District and
Sessions Court on an earlier occasion and the hearing was
conducted through video-conferencing.

He was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after he shot
and killed two armed men he claimed were trying to rob him.

Police rejected Davis` claim that he acted in
self-defence and have booked him for murder.

The case has been complicated by revelations that
Davis was working as a security contractor for the CIA.

The Pakistan government has rejected repeated US
demands for Davis to be freed on the grounds of diplomatic
immunity and relations between the two countries have plunged
to a new low.

On March 14, the Lahore High Court will hear a
separate case to decide Davis’ diplomatic status.
Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani, have said the matter should be settled by the courts.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 00:12

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