|Davis indicted for double murder and not for other charges like espionage. Photo: AFP/FILE
LAHORE: US national Raymond Davis, the accused in the double-murder case in Lahore has been released, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah confirmed on Wednesday. The Punjab government claims it played no part in the release of Davis.
Sanaullah added that the families of the victims in the Lahore shooting pardoned Davis, and have signed pardon papers in this regard.
“The court first indicted him but the families later told the court that they have accepted the blood money and they have pardoned him,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters.
“The court acquitted him in the murder case.”
The minister said the case had been settled with blood money, or “diyat” — a provision commonly used under Islamic sharia law in which compensation can be paid to relatives of those killed to secure a pardon.
Lawyers of the victims’ families claim the families were forcibly taken to Kot Lakhpat Jail by unidentified men and made to sign papers pardoning Davis.
Another laywer for the families, Nauman Atiq, confirmed the lawyers were held at the court and ordered not to speak to media.The Davis case had sparked angry protests by religious groups who had called for the American to be hanged for double murder.
No contact has been made with any members of the family as yet.
Initial reports from sources state that Davis has been flown to London.
Earlier in the day, a sessions court judge in Lahore had formally indicted US national Davis.
According to Express 24/7 correspondent Muhammad Rizwan, in the hearing that took place at Kot Lakhpat jail, Davis’ counsel Zahid Hussain Bokhari tried to stall the ruling saying he did not trust the investigation process. However, the judge ignored his statement and formally indicted the accused.
Davis was only indicted for double murder and not for other charges like espionage.
Davis was arrested after he killed two Pakistanis, Faizan and Faheem, in Lahore’s Mozang area, on January 27, 2011.
In the last hearing, Davis had refused to receive any documents or sign the charge-sheet. His attorneys had said they had received it on his behalf and had asked the court to include it in its orders. According to sources they had sought further time to prepare for the trial.
Earlier, on February 15, 2011, the police had submitted a 25-page charge-sheet in the court declaring that Davis had murdered two people and was not acting in self-defence.
The charge-sheet stated that Davis’ self-defence plea was false as it was intentional murder. It read that the guns recovered from the possession of the deceased were not loaded and they had also not pointed a gun at Davis. Fingerprints were found on the pistols’ triggers and on bodies of the deceased and tests show that the bullets remained in the magazines of their guns, not the chambers.
The charge-sheet also stated that the police had recovered a GPS tracker, mobile phones, wireless sets, a survival kit and photographs from Davis’ car. The accused, it says, is uncooperative with the police during investigation.
The charge-sheet also contained the statements of 47 witnesses, who have said that Davis did not shoot the men in self-defence. They also said that Davis had shot directly at the two boys and kept shooting even when one of them tried to flee.
The Lahore High Court (LHC) ruled on Monday that the matter of immunity for Davis will be decided by the trial court, and disposed of all petitions challenging his diplomatic status in Pakistan.