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Pakistan court refuses to release US official, denying immunity

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Mohsin Raza/Reuters

(Read caption) Burning tires are seen near supporters of the religious and political party Jamaat-e-Islami praying during a protest rally in Lahore, Pakistan, on Feb. 1. A Pakistani court on Tuesday refused to release Raymond Davis, an Embassy employee, who is accused of murdering two Pakistan citizens in Lahore last Thursday.

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

A Pakistani court refused today to release an American official to US authorities, igniting a diplomatic rift between the two countries as well as speculation about the official’s role within the American government.

Embassy employee Raymond Davis is accused of murdering two Pakistan citizens in Lahore last Thursday as The Christian Science Monitor reported then. However, he has claimed that he was acting in self-defense after two men on a motorcycle attempted to rob him at gunpoint, according to a BBC report.

The State Department released a statement saying that Pakistani authorities are obliged to hand over Mr. Davis because he has diplomatic immunity.

“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,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Monday, according to an AFP report.

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