Pakistan court orders US government worker held

[JURIST] A judge for the Lahore High Court [official website] on Tuesday ordered that US consulate worker Raymond Davis be held for the murder of two men in Pakistan last week, ignoring US protests [press release; JURIST report] that Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity. Chief Justice Ijaz Ihmad Chaudhry [official profile] also ordered Davis's name to be placed on an exit control list [Times of India report], which would prevent Davis from leaving the country. Davis and embassy officials claim that Davis shot and killed the two men in self defense [AFP report], saying the men attempted to hijack the vehicle Davis was in. The US claims that Davis is a member of the technical staff of the US Embassy in Pakistan [official website] and thus immune from Pakistan's criminal jurisdiction under Articles 31 and 37 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations [text, PDF]. Pakistani officials say that Davis was not authorized to carry a weapon. Chaudrhy adjourned the case for 15 days so that the provincial and national governments can determine whether Davis qualifies for diplomatic immunity.

This dispute strains what are already shaky diplomatic relations [AP report] between the US and Pakistan. Those relations have been strained by a variety of factors, including deaths related to airstrikes within Pakistan [WP report]. Pakistan filed a complaint with NATO [JURIST report] in October as a result of those airstrikes. Despite the fractured relationship, Pakistan remains one of the key US allies in the Middle East. In September of last year, Pakistani authorities arrested three individuals [JURIST report] linked with Faisal Shahzad [JURIST news archive], the man accused of attempting to detonate a bomb in Times Square.

 

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