Pak court rejects Davis` claim about diplomatic immunity

Last Updated: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 00:03

Lahore: In a setback to US efforts to seek
early release of its national Raymond Davis arrested for
double murder, a Pakistani court on Thursday rejected his claim that
he has diplomatic immunity and said it would go ahead with his
trial.

During the last hearing of the case, 37-year-old Davis, a
suspected CIA contractor, had filed an application in which he
insisted that he had immunity.
Lawyers representing the families of the two men shot
dead by Davis in Lahore in January and the prosecution counsel
today presented their arguments during proceedings conducted
behind closed doors at Kot Lakhpat Jail by Additional District
and Sessions Judge Yousuf Aujla.

After hearing the arguments of defence and prosecution
lawyers, Judge Aujla said no authentic document had been
presented by Davis or the Pakistan government to show that the
American national had diplomatic immunity.

The judge said a note provided by the US embassy was not
sufficient to prove Davis` diplomatic status.

He rejected Davis` application claiming diplomatic
immunity and said the court has the jurisdiction to go ahead
with his trial.

When defence lawyers told the judge that they had not
been provided all the documents related to the charges
leveled against Davis, Aujla directed the prosecution to
ensure this was done and adjourned the case till March 8.

Lawyers representing the families of the two men killed
by Davis said they expected the court to formally indict Davis
at the next hearing.

Davis was represented at today`s hearing by three
lawyers, including Zahid Hussain Bukhari, a former judge of
the Lahore High Court.

US Consul General Carmela Conroy observed the proceedings
that were held in the heavily-guarded Kot Lakhpat Jail for
security reasons. Davis is being held in the same prison.

At the last hearing, Davis had refused to sign the
charge-sheet that was given to him and insisted that he had
immunity. He also contended that Pakistani courts could not
take action against him.
Davis 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 booked him for murder.

The case has been complicated by reports in the US media
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: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 00:03

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