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CIA Contractor Released From Pakistani Prison

Amid growing tensions, Pakistan has agreed to release CIA contractor Raymond Davis. On January 21, Davis fatally shot two Pakistani men outside a gas station in Lahore, Pakistan. Despite Davis’ claim of self defense, he was arrested at the scene of the shooting and charged with two counts of murder.

Initially, the United States sought diplomatic immunity for Davis. However, a Pakistani trial court held Davis did not provide proof of his diplomatic status. A higher court refused to reexamine the issue. Since that time, secret negotiations have taken place between the victims’ families and the Pakistani government. Ultimately, an agreement was reached under an aspect of Islamic law known as diyat (singular: diyya). Diyat are incorporated into Pakistani law and permit victims’ families to pardon those accused of murder. Additionally, victims’ families may receive a monetary payment as a part of the agreement.

On March 16, Davis was released pursuant to

a diyya in which the victims’ families would receive $2.3 million. The United States claims it did not actively participate in the negotiations, and that it only agreed to the finalized arrangement. Additionally, the source of the compensation remains unknown. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied the United States paid compensation to the victims’ families.

When Davis’ release was announced, protests erupted in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Six people were injured. Criticism has been levied against the secrecy of the negotiations and the sum of the compensation. It remains to be seen what impact Davis’ release will have on broader Pakistani-American relations.


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