U.S., Pakistan Dispute Jailed Diplomat's Immunity
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Let's follow up on the story of an American accused of murder in Pakistan. The United States says that Raymond Davis was working as an American diplomat and acting in self-defense when he shot and killed two armed men trying to rob him. But Pakistan has not freed Mr. Davis, who is an ex-Special Forces soldier. President Obama addressed the case in a news conference yesterday, saying Davis should be freed based on the Vienna Convention that defines diplomatic immunity.
BARACK OBAMA: If our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country's local prosecution. We respect it with respect to diplomats who are here. We expect Pakistan, that's a signatory, and recognize Mr. Davis as a diplomat, to abide by the same convention.
INSKEEP: That's the president's case. People are making a different case in Pakistan, as NPR's Julie McCarthy reports.
JULIE MCCARTHY: The Davis case is highly sensitive and, in three weeks, has become the diplomatic equivalent of a runaway train. Police earlier spoke of a double murder, but now describe the events on a Lahore street in which two people were shot in more chilling terms. Here's Lahore Police Chief Aslam Tareen.
ASLAM TAREEN: (Through translator) In this case, we have proved that this is a cold-blooded murder. And the forensic science substantiates our claim that Raymond Davis committed this murder. The investigation has been carried out fairly and purely on the merits.
MCCARTHY: The Pakistan government has said little, but the ensuing media frenzy casts Davis as a gun-for-hire operative in another episode of U.S. imperialism. Television channels hype exclusive videos of Davis.
(SOUNDBITE TV BROADCAST)
RAYMOND DAVIS: No, it's a consulate general. It's not an ambassador.
MCCARTHY: Unidentified Man: Consul general?
DAVIS: Unidentified Man: Lahore?
DAVIS: Unidentified Man: As a...
DAVIS: I just work as a consultant there.
MCCARTHY: Political scientist Rasul Bakhsh Rais says the Pakistani government has been hesitant to commit to freeing Davis for fear of a backlash. Virulently anti-American clerics have already stirred angry protests. But Rais says the government's lack of clarity will hurt Pakistan's interests and prestige.
RASUL BAKHSH RAIS: I think that the Americans mean business, and the relationship between the two countries is likely to be affected very badly.
MCCARTHY: In an apparent effort to defuse tensions, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry arrived in Lahore last night, where he vowed the U.S. Justice Department would launch its own investigation, and said the United States was deeply sorry for the deaths.
JOHN KERRY: I'm here to listen to people. How can we sort of work our way through this? How do we listen to each other? How do we keep the voices lower? Don't let the passions run away, and do justice to everybody. I think that can be done.
MCCARTHY: Julie McCarthy, NPR News, Islamabad.
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