Pakistani Govt Rejects US Demands to Hand Over Consular Official Suspected of Murder

US Claims of 'Diplomatic Immunity' Doubted

US Consulate official Raymond Davis is still in custody in the Pakistani city of Lahore awaiting murder charges tonight, despite US demands that he be immediately released on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Davis was charged with the murders after shooting two motorcyclists on the streets of Lahore, which he claimed was self defense. Police say they have no indication that the two cyclists were “trying to rob him” as Davis claimed and that neither had a criminal record.

The US insists Pakistan is violating the Vienna Convention by refusing to release Davis, which is simply untrue according both to Pakistani legal experts and the letter of the convention’s law. Though Davis would theoretically have such immunity if he worked for the embassy, the fact that he worked for the consulate does not play to his advantage, as consulate employees only have diplomatic immunity for actions taken as part of their duties. Shooting people on the streets of Lahore, needless to say, is not part of the duties of a “technical adviser.”

The Obama Administration has expressed concerns that Davis’ arrest would fuel even more anti-US sentiment in Pakistan than there already was, and indeed there seems to be considerable resentment over the US demands for his release. Experts say that though Davis is unlikely to be released before the trial, it is entirely probable that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will pardon and release him the moment the trial ends.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.