Pakistan relatives seek terror charges for US man

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 18:43

Lahore: The families of three Pakistanis who died after a US government employee opened fire in broad daylight demanded Wednesday that terror charges are brought against the American.

Dozens of relatives and students gathered close to the site of the shooting in the eastern city of Lahore last week, shouting "hang Davis," "death to American dogs" and "cruel people be accountable for our blood".

The US consular employee, whom Pakistani police identified as Raymond Davis, is under investigation for the double murder of two Pakistani motorcyclists.

A third Pakistani was run over by a vehicle from the US consulate in Lahore that came to Davis` assistance. Davis said he shot the two men in self-defence, fearing they were about to rob him, but was taken into Pakistani custody.

"We demand the Raymond Davis trial be held under the anti-terrorism act," said Sajjad, brother of Ibad-ur-Rehman, who was killed by the US vehicle, speaking at a joint news conference convened by the relatives.

"The weapon was openly used in public, when people crushed under the vehicle and when people tried to stop the car, guns were aimed at them -- all this falls into acts of terrorism," Rehman said.

A Pakistan court on Tuesday blocked any move to free Davis although Washington has stepped up calls for his release, citing diplomatic immunity.

"We want him kept on remand and denied bail," said Mohammad Waseem, brother of Mohammad Faheem, one of the two men on a motorcycle whom the American thought posed a direct threat.

Mohammad Rashid, brother-in-law of other motorcyclists Faizan Haider, said the grieving families were dissatisfied with the police investigation.

"The government is deliberately weakening the case against the US citizen and are portraying the victims as robbers," Rashid said.

Relatives said they would stage a peaceful rally outside the US consulate in Lahore on Thursday.

"We appeal on the government to allow this peaceful rally and provide security, otherwise we will try to get inside the US consulate," Waseem said.

Although Washington says the man is a diplomat, questions remain about why the American was driving around with a gun and US officials have so far declined to confirm his name.

US television network ABC reported that Davis is a private security officer with experience in the US Special Forces.

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First Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 18:43

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