U.S. demands release of American diplomat in Pakistan, says he has immunity

ISLAMABAD: The United States on Saturday urged authorities in the Pakistani city of Lahore to immediately release an American diplomat who is being held in the shooting deaths of two Pakistani men.

The shooting happened on Thursday in Lahore when Raymond David, a staff member of the U.S. Consulate, was confronted by two armed men on motorcycles. David claimed they were attempting to rob him and said he acted in self-defense.

"The diplomat had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm," the U.S. Embassy said in a statement. "Minutes earlier, the two men, who had criminal backgrounds, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area."

The Embassy said David 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," the statement said. "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."

Pakistani police have continued to ignore David's diplomatic immunity and indicated that they want to bring him to trial on murder charges.


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