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Central & South Asia
US 'diplomat' remanded in Pakistan
Court orders that Reymond Davis, arrested for killing two people in "self-defence", remain in jail but US wants him out.
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2011 08:12 GMT
Relatives of two Pakistani men, who were killed by Davis, have been organising protests against the US diplomat [EPA]

A Pakistani court has extended the detention of Raymond Davis, a US embassy employee based in Lahore, for another eight days in a shooting case in which two motorcyclists were killed.

Davis, described as a diplomat by the US embassy, was brought to a Lahore court early on Thursday morning amid tight security before the normal working hours perhaps to avoid his being mobbed by an eager media.

Police cordoned off the court premises during the short proceedings.

The diplomat was arrested on January 27 after he shot dead two motorcyclists, claiming that he acted in self-defence, fearing they were about to rob him.

A third Pakistani was knocked down and killed by a vehicle from the US consulate in Lahore that tried to rescue Davis. The American citizen, however, was arrested by the police and a case of double murder was registered against him.

"We produced the American in the court of magistrate Zafar Iqbal, who extended his remand in police custody to another eight days," Abdul Samad, public prosecutor told AFP news agency.

According to official media, the court extended the physical remand of Davis by eight days because investigators pleaded that probe was still not complete and that they needed more time.

Samad said that the diplomat would next be produced in court on February 11.

"We have to conduct further investigations, which necessitates extension in the remand," he added.
Rahman Malik, Pakistan's interior minister said in a statement on Thursday that Davis would remain on the exit control list and would remain in the country till the Punjab courts came to a decision.

Diplomatic immunity

The US says that Davis acted in self-defence against robbers, and that Pakistan must free him because he has diplomatic immunity.

Arresting the diplomat was a violation of international norms and the Vienna Convention, it said.
However, the Lahore high court, on Tuesday, blocked any move to free Davis pending further hearings, saying that it would be up to the court to determine whether he was entitled to diplomatic immunity in the case.

The incident has aroused huge controversy in Pakistan, where anti-American feelings run high, fuelled by Washington's alliance with an unpopular government, the war in Afghanistan and US drone strikes on armed religious groups in the country's tribal regions.

Demonstrations have been held across the country warning authorities against releasing Davis.
Some members of the Pakistani media, which have in the past accused US aid workers of being spies, have also called for Davis to be put on trial in Pakistan.

This could be a politically-explosive issue for the government of President Asif Ali Zardari and the case could create new strains between the allies.

Source:
Al Jazeera and Agencies
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