Davis insists he has diplomatic immunity

M Zulqernain

Lahore, Feb 25 (PTI) US national Raymond Davis, an allegedCIA contractor who was arrested for gunning down two men here,today insisted he acted in self defence and had diplomaticimmunity during a hearing into murder charges against him at aPakistani court, which adjourned the trial till March 3.

Prosecution lawyer Abdus Samad told the media outside theheavily-guarded Kot Lakhpat Jail, where the trial is beingconducted behind closed doors for security reasons, that37-year-old Davis is expected to be formally indicted at thenext hearing.

No counsel represented Davis during today''s proceedingsand Additional District and Sessions Judge Yousuf Aujlaadvised him to select a lawyer to defend him before the nexthearing, Samad said.

"All documents and the challan (charge sheet) werepresented to Davis by the court. He (Davis) said he does notunderstand Urdu so he was given an English version of thedocuments," Samad said.

"After being given the documents, he refused to receivethem," he said.

Sources said Davis informed the judge that he had shotand killed the two men in self defence and that he haddiplomatic immunity.

The judge adjourned his trial till March 3 during today''sproceedings, which were observed by senior officials of the USconsulate in Lahore and relatives of the two men gunned downby Davis.

The proceedings were held in Kot Lakhpat Jail after thejudge accepted Punjab government''s request to hold the trialin the prison for security reasons.

Davis, who is currently being held in the same jail,could not be produced in the District and Sessions Court on anearlier occasion and the hearing was conducted throughvideo-conferencing.

He was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after he shot andkilled two armed men he claimed were trying to rob him.

Police rejected Davis'' claim that he acted in self defence andbooked him for murder.

The case has been complicated by revelations in the USmedia that Davis was working as a security contractor for theCIA.

The Pakistan government has rejected repeated US demandsfor Davis to be freed on the grounds of diplomatic immunityand relations between the two countries have plunged to a newlow.

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