Friday, March 4, 2011

UPDATE: Pakistani court throws out Raymond Davis immunity plea

Raymond Davis and the American Media on Forbes blog
Mar. 5 2011 - 11:59 am | 243 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments
The Raymond Davis saga in Pakistan is far from over, and I’ll have a piece sooner or later on the implications, broadly, for US-Pak relations. But there’s a meta-story that’s worth taking note of now: the coverage of the story in the Pakistani and international press. Essentially, Davis’ CIA status was being floated in the Pakistani press for several weeks before it ‘broke’ in the Guardian. It turned out that the New York Times and other American news organizations had deliberately held back the information at the request of U.S. authorities. Though a similar request was made of the Guardian, the paper’s editors and reporters refused.

As a reader of the Pakistani press, I’d seen the CIA claim, but in part because of the easy way in which the CIA is used as a bogeyman in Pakistani political discourse, I must admit I was skeptical of the claim until the Guardian verified it. As a critic of the Times’ inconsistent policy about withholding information for ‘the safety of the subject,’ I’m disappointed, but unsurprised, by their call on this one. Points to the Guardian for getting it right. For more on the details, this video from Al Jazeera’s media-watch show, Listening Post, is good.

The story is amusing coming on the heels of Hillary Clinton’s takedown of the American media at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week. Clinton asserted that the U.S. is losing the global information war because of the frivolity in American journalism: you don’t feel when watching American news stations, she says, that you are getting real news.

Problematically, one reason American news outlets don’t deliver enough ‘real news’ is because they comply too readily with the intelligence agencies trying to win that information war. Yet another example of misaligned agendas coming from the State Department and the CIA.

AP photo

As background be sure to read this crucial article

Source: OUR STAFF REPORTER Submitted - 4 March 2011 LAHORE -

Additional District and Sessions Judge (AD&SJ) Muhammad Yousaf Aujla on Thursday turned down the claim for diplomatic immunity submitted by the counsel for double murder accused Raymond Davis.

The judge said the trial would continue against US national Raymond because so far no directives or decision of any court regarding diplomatic immunity for him has been dispatched to his court. This he said in response to Davis counsel’s plea that trial by the AD&SJ shouldn’t proceed when the Lahore High Court decides on the immunity petition.

The trial proceedings of the double murder were held Thursday in the Kot Lakhpat jail, and Judge Muhammad Yousaf Aujla also extended the judicial remand of Davis till March 15 in the case of illegal arms. The court directed the police to submit a complete challan (charge sheet) of the case on the next hearing. Most local and international media were once again kept from the trial proceedings of the cases against Davis, the CIA operative who had killed two Pakistanis in Lahore at Qartaba Chowk on January 27. Only US Consul General Carmella Conroy could grant permission for the media to attend the proceedings.

Davis was produced by jail authorities before the court set up in the Kot Lakhpat jail. On the last hearing, Davis challenged the court concerned that it could not hold the trial of the cases against him because he enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

On Wednesday, counsel for Raymond Davis — LHC former judge Syed Zahid Hussain Bokhari – filed his objection with the court that it could not try his client as he also produced and submitted a note of the US Embassy before the court in this regard.

The note said that Raymond Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity as he is having a diplomatic passport.

Bokhari along with two other lawyers informed the court that the matter of diplomatic immunity for Davis was also pending before the Lahore High Court, on which the judge said that so far he had not received any directives or copy of decision in this regard by any higher court that Davis could not be tried in this court.

The counsel for the complainant Asad Butt said legal certificate (proof of diplomatic immunity) should have been provided by the Davis counsel. He pleaded that only note of the US Embassy was not sufficient.

The court agreed that the document (the embassy note) was not sufficient as it has no legal value and authenticity before this court. The court rejected the claim and application submitted by Davis counsel for diplomatic immunity, with remarks that this court could try US national Raymond Davis in the double murder case because this is falling in its jurisdiction.

Davis counsel informed the judge that so far he has not been provided with the copies of the documents as well as complete copy of the charge sheet. The judge directed the Prosecution Department to provide the documents to the counsel.

easy click here

See this Wikipedia entry for a partial review of this case here

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