Pak did not consider evidence of Davis acting in defence: US

M Zulqernain

Lahore, Feb 12 (PTI) The US has again pressed for therelease of American official Raymond Davis, charged withmurder in Pakistan, insisting that the authorities had notconsidered eyewitness accounts and physical evidence thatshowed he acted in self-defence.

Davis was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after heshot and killed two men he claimed were trying to rob him.

Police yesterday accused Davis of committing"cold-blooded murder" and said an investigation had producedno evidence of his claim of acting in self-defence.

"We understand that eyewitnesses at the scene saidthat (Davis) acted in self-defence when confronted with twoarmed men on a motorcycle. We also understand that these menwere found with stolen property and, as the police statedtoday, a loaded gun," US Consul General Carmela Conroy said ina statement issued late last night.

"We regret that authorities did not consider theseeyewitness accounts and physical evidence when they statedthat this was not a case of self-defence," she said.

Davis was sent to prison yesterday after a court inLahore remanded him to judicial custody for a fortnight.

But Conroy contended he should be "freed immediately"as he had diplomatic immunity.

"As a member of the Administrative and Technical staffat the US Embassy in Islamabad, Raymond Davis is entitled tofull immunity from criminal prosecution by Pakistan under theVienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.

"All countries, including my country and your country,freely agreed to abide by these rules. Under the rules, heshould be freed immediately," she said.

Conroy interacted with local and foreign journalistsat her residence last night, the first time a US official hasspoken in public with the media about the arrest of Davis.

Conroy also met Davis at the Kot Lakhpat jail, where he isbeing held.

The US respects "the law and Pakistan''s sovereignty"and the people of Pakistan and American officials "enjoyworking and living in this country," Conroy said.

"Americans and Pakistanis can accomplish so muchtogether. We need to resolve this case immediately andcontinue our work, including cooperation in education andhealth, our common fight against extremist violence, andbuilding bridges between the people of Pakistan and America,"she said.

"This incident was a tragedy, and we feel tremendoussorrow over the loss of life," she added. .

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