No diplomatic immunity for murder-accused US consulate worker: Pak official

January 30th, 2011 - 4:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Lahore, Jan 30(ANI): The US diplomat charged with double murder in Pakistan does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, Punjab’s Deputy Prosecutor General Rana Bakhtiar has said.

US national Raymond Davis, who shot two persons to death at Mazang Chowk in Lahore on Thursday, does not possess diplomatic immunity because he entered Pakistan on a business visa, Bakhtiar told media persons on Sunday.

“Only diplomats enjoy immunity during their service under the Vienna Convention. Davis cannot claim any such protection due to his business visa,” SAMAA TV quoted Punjab’s Deputy Prosecutor General, as saying.

On Saturday, the US Embassy in Pakistan had called for an immediate release of the US diplomat “unlawfully detained by authorities in Lahore,” saying that he “has a US diplomatic passport and Pakistani visa valid until June 2012.”

“The diplomat acted in self-defence when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles. The diplomat had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm. Minutes earlier, the two men, who had criminal backgrounds, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area,” said a US embassy press release.

“When detained, the U.S. diplomat identified himself to police as a diplomat and repeatedly requested immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Local police and senior authorities failed to observe their legal obligation to verify his status with either the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore or the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. Furthermore, the diplomat was formally arrested and remanded into custody, which is a violation of international norms and the Vienna Convention, to which Pakistan is a signatory,” it added.

However, Bakhtiar rejected the arguments that the US official acted in self-defence, pointing out that the victims had been shot in their backs, which proved that Davis was not attacked. About the death of the third person in the hit-and-run case following the death of the two Pakistanis, Bakhtiar said a written request had been made to the US consulate, seeking custody of the suspect. (ANI)

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