US lawyers in Pakistan to defend Davis

March 5th, 2011 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 5 (IANS) Two US lawyers Saturday arrived in Pakistan to provide legal aid to a US official facing trial for gunning down two Pakistani men, Xinhua reported.

The shooting deaths in January in Lahore have caused a diplomatic row between the two allies.

The US had earlier said that Raymond Davis is a consulate employee but later said he is a CIA contractor.

Davis had told the police that he fired in self-defence, but investigators have rejected his claim, saying that he had intentionally fired at the two men.

A third Pakistani was also crushed to death by a US consulate car when it rushed to Davis’s aid.

The US is demanding his release, saying he cannot be tried in a court as he enjoys diplomatic immunity, but a court in Lahore this week rejected the immunity claim and ruled to proceed with the case.

The US has also hired services of Pakistani lawyers to defend Davis. His lawyers said during the last hearing that they would submit documents to prove Davis is a diplomat.

Local TV channels reported that American lawyers will meet Davis at a prison in Lahore and discuss the progress in the case. They will also hold a meeting with the victims’ families.

The US diplomats are now seeking to settle the case under the Islamic law and have reportedly offered compensation to the victims’ families, media report said.

Pakistan, a close US ally, is under pressure from Washington to free Davis, but it is also facing pressure as the opposition parties are demanding punishment for the accused.

The Lahore High Court has stopped the government from releasing Davis till it gives its final verdict. The Pakistan foreign ministry was expected to submit a reply in the court whether Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity.

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