CIA’s Raymond Davis Acquitted in Pakistan Murder Case
The high-profile case of Raymond Davis has finally come to an end in Pakistan — but did the court get it right? Davis was freed Wednesday when his victims’ families accepted financial compensation in exchange for Davis’ release — reportedly $700,000 toward each family, totaling $1.4 million.
The case came under immense scrutiny when Davis, a CIA contractor, was charged with the murder of two Pakistani men in Lahore on Jan. 27. Davis said he acted in self-defense, claiming that the two men were trailing him — he said one even brandished a handgun at him. Pakistani authorities maintained that Davis’ story was not plausible, given both men suffered bullet wounds to the back. An additional Pakistani motorcyclist was struck by a United States government vehicle that had rushed to Davis’ aid — the motorcyclist, too, died of his wounds, while the driver is suspected to have returned to the U.S.
The case caught the attention of the entire world when the U.S. demanded that Davis be granted immunity, citing the Vienna Convention of 1961 which prohibits all diplomats from undergoing criminal prosecution. The people of Pakistan argued relentlessly that Davis’ was a case of clear murder, and justice would only be achieved through a fair trial.
Wednesday’s pardon is being seen by some as an attempt to alleviate the strained relations between the U.S. and Pakistan in the period following Davis’ arrest — the U.S. government relies heavily on Pakistan in its fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in Pakistan’s northwest region. Pressure on the Pakistani government to release Davis further intensified when President Barack Obama called for Davis’ release last month, referring to the 36-year-old as “our diplomat“.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said: “The families of the victims of the January 27 incident in Lahore have pardoned Raymond Davis. I am grateful for their generosity. I wish to express, once again, my regret for the incident and my sorrow at the suffering it caused.”
Sabrina Siddiqui is the Managing Editor of Divanee. You can follow her updates on Twitter via @SabrinaSiddiqui.
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Do you think the right decision was made with regard to Davis’ release or should the Pakistani government have stood its ground? Tell us what you think below.