U.S. demands release of American charged in shooting death of two Pakistanis
ISLAMABAD: The United States is toughening its stance toward the Raymond Davis trial, accusing Islamabad of denying the American diplomat both a lawyer and translation assistance at the Lahore High Court.
The U.S. embassy statement made clear that the “responsibility for the safety and well-being of the illegally detained diplomat rests with the Government of Pakistan and Punjab provincial authorities.”
Raymond Davis was charged by the Pakistani government and is under trial on charges of killing two Pakistani nationals.
The U.S. statement said the Pakistani authorities failed to provide the translator to allow Davis to explain his position. The court on Feb. 3 extended the physical remand of Davis for eight days. Police authorities called Davis a cunning and sharp criminal who was not cooperating with the investigation.
Davis is reportedly fluent in Urdu and according to eyewitness accounts available to police, had spoken about his reasons for gunning down the two Pakistanis.
Without naming Davis who, it now appears, may have come into the country under an assumed name, the U.S. embassy “once again call upon the Government of Pakistan to abide by its obligations under international and Pakistani law and immediately release the American diplomat illegally detained in Lahore.”
The U.S. notified the government of Pakistan on Jan. 20, 2010, that Davis was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad as a member of the administrative and technical staff.
“We deeply regret that the Jan. 27 events in Lahore resulted in the loss of life following an attack on the diplomat by armed assailants. However, the Government of Pakistan must comply with its obligations under international and Pakistani law and ensure that he has immunity from criminal jurisdiction,” the statement said.
Also on Thursday, President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Although no official report was released about the meeting, sources said the meeting addressed the Davis issue as well as the unidentified driver of another consulate vehicle. The three were unanimous in agreeing to allow matters to proceed in court.