Pakistanis Keep American In Custody Despite U.S. Pressure

VIDEO: American Held for Murder in Pakistan

If there was any question that Pakistan intended to bow to U.S. demands and quickly release a U.S. official who killed two Pakistanis last month, the public answer came back today as an emphatic no.

The U.S. wanted Davis released before his court appearance this morning, but the court said he would remain detained for two more weeks. The U.S. has requested Davis be treated well, but the court sent him from a relatively comfortable police station into a crowded jail. And the U.S. continues to argue Davis acted in self defense, but the Lahore police chief today accused Davis of "intentional and cold-blooded murder."

After the court's decision today, Carmela Conroy, the U.S. Consul General in Lahore, said that the Jan. 25 incident was a tragedy, and extended her sympathy to the family of the men killed, but said that Davis is "entitled to full immunity from prosecution" as a member of the U.S. Embassy staff in Islamabad.

"Under the rules, he should be freed immediately," said Conroy, who visited Davis in prison today. She also said she regretted that authorities "did not consider ... eyewitness accounts and physical evidence" that indicated Davis acted in self defense.

Davis' continuing detention, his move to a prison, and the apparent impending murder charge could infuriate the United States. A senior U.S. official said that so long as Davis is detained, any major U.S.-Pakistan meeting would be dominated by a discussion about Davis -- making normal bilateral discussions right now difficult to impossible.

But the embassy in Islamabad rejected the claim made by Pakistani officials in an ABC news report that pressure to release Davis included a meeting between National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani in which Donilon threatened Haqqani with expulsion and the closure of U.S. consulates in Pakistan if Davis wasn't released by today.

"ABC News carried a story regarding a conversation in Washington between senior U.S. and Pakistani officials," said the statement, released by embassy spokeswoman Courtney Beale. "Although we are unable to discuss the substance of a private diplomatic meeting, U.S. Embassy Islamabad can state categorically that the description of the conversation in this report is simply inaccurate."

U.S. officials declined to specify which details in the story were inaccurate.

Haqqani also denied that he had been threatened.

"The characterization of my conversation with White House officials by ABC News borders fabrication," he said in a statement to ABC News today. "It is not our policy to reveal details of diplomatic conversations. I can say, however, that National Security Adviser Tom Donilon did, indeed, convey the US government's views about the case of Mr. Raymond Davis during a meeting on Monday evening but no ultimatum or threat was given. I conveyed the government of Pakistan's commitment to resolve the matter in accordance with Pakistani and international law. Both sides are working together to resolve the case expeditiously and to continue our multi-faceted strategic partnership."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...