|The killings have sparked angry protests in Pakistan against Raymond Davis [Reuters]|
Pakistani police have rejected the self-defence claim of a US citizen accused of murdering two men in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore last month, extending his detention.
Police in Lahore said on Friday that they had proof Raymond Allen Davis, a US embassy employee, had shot and killed two Pakistani men in a case of “cold-blooded murder” on January 27.
“It was a clear-cut murder,” Aslam Tarin, the Lahore police chief, told reporters after 14 days of interrogations.
Davis told police after his arrest last month that he had shot the men in an act of self-defence because he feared they were trying to rob him.
The US consulate general in Lahore sent a vehicle to recover Davis after the incident, but it ran over and killed a third Pakistani man, before fleeing the scene.
But the police chief said Davis had fired at another person fleeing the scene and that the gun wielded by one of the victims was loaded but not cocked.
Courtney Kramer Beale, an embassy spokeswoman, backed Davis’ account.
“Eyewitness reports the day of the incident showed the American acted in self-defence,” she said.
Washington has said Davis’ detention is illegal under international agreements covering diplomats because he was a US embassy staffer.
However, Pakistani leaders have for days avoided making definitive statements on his legal status, saying the issue is up to the courts.
On Friday, Judge Anik Anwar ordered Davis to be held for 14 more days in a local jail while authorities clarify whether he has diplomatic immunity.
Anwar also ordered that the government tell the court in the coming days whether the American has diplomatic immunity.
“He has been sent to Kot Lakhpat jail on a 14-day judicial remand,” Abdul Samad, the deputy prosecutor-general, told reporters, referring to the city’s main prison.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Pakistan, said the incident has sparked country-wide protests demanding justice.
“They want Davis to hang [for the killings],” he said.
If it intervenes to seek Davis’s release, Pakistan’s government will bear the brunt of popular anger at what many Pakistanis would see as yet another violation of their sovereignty.
But if it allows the Lahore High Court to move ahead with double murder charges, it could anger the US and even affect a five-year civilian aid package amounting to $7.5bn.