US stands by double murder-accused US diplomat's action as 'self defence'

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Washington, Feb 01(ANI): The United States has defended the action of a US diplomat, who shot two persons to death at Mazang Chowk in Lahore last Thursday, saying that he had acted "in self defence when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles".

"In our view, he acted in self defence when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles. He had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm. And minutes earlier, the two men, who had criminal backgrounds, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area," US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip J. Crowley stated during a press briefing.

He reiterated the US' stand on the issue, calling for the accused's "immediate release. He is a member of the Embassy's technical administrative staff and therefore entitled to full criminal immunity. He cannot be lawfully arrested or detained in accordance with the Vienna Convention."

When questioned if the Embassy staff carry weapons, Crowley dodged the question, saying: "You know, but when he was detained, he identified himself to police as a diplomat and has - and repeatedly requested immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations."

On being asked to give an explanation why the "US diplomat" was not issued a diplomatic visa, instead of the official one he had, and how the "Pakistanis are arguing that would be a reason for him not to receive diplomatic immunity," Crowley replied: "Look, this is a matter that we are still discussing with the Government of Pakistan, but you've heard the United States view on this."

He also confirmed that the accused US diplomat "remains in custody" but refused to talk about his identity. (ANI)

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