Davis weapon-related case to be heard in jail

Lahore: A Pakistani court has decided to hold in-camera proceedings in jail in a case of possession of unlicensed weapon against CIA contractor Raymond Davis, arrested for shooting and killing two men in this eastern city last month.

Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Aneeque Chaudhry yesterday accepted a petition filed by prosecutors that sought permission for proceedings against Davis to be held in Kot Lakhpat Jail for security reasons.

The case relates to a charge of possessing an unlicensed weapon.

Proceedings in a separate case in which Davis has been accused of murdering two men began in Kot Lakhpat Jail yesterday.

That case has been adjourned till March 3.

Police had filed a case against Davis on January 28 in which they booked him under the Arms Ordinance for carrying an unlicensed weapon.

"On the request of the Home Department, we filed an application in the court of Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Aneeque Chaudhry to seek permission for getting Davis tried by the court in Kot Lakhpat Jail due to security concerns," Additional Prosecutor General Abdus Samad said.

In a related development, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jamaat-e-Islami yesterday organised protests in Lahore after the Friday prayers to pressure the government not to release Davis.

They warned the government of countrywide protests if Davis` case is settled out of court.

Davis was arrested in Lahore on January 27 after he shot and killed two armed men he claimed were trying to rob him.

Police rejected Davis` claim that he acted in self-defence and have booked him for murder.

The case has been complicated by revelations that Davis was working as a security contractor for the CIA.

The Pakistan government has rejected repeated US demands for Davis to be freed on the grounds of diplomatic immunity and relations between the two countries have plunged to a new low.