Indicted, Pardoned, Released — Raymond Davis Saga "Ends"

LA Time reported that just hours after a court in Lahore announced Davis’ formal indictment on murder charges, Raymond Davis, a 36-year-old American contractor incarcerated in Pakistani jail since January 27, was on a plane headed for London.

“Rana Sanaullah, a Punjab provincial law minister, said Davis’ release was triggered by the decision of the families of the two Pakistani men to accept diyat, an Islamic tradition included in Pakistani law that permits the heirs of a murder victim to accept financial compensation in exchange for pardoning the accused.”

The Tribune in Pakistan 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.

According to BBC News, about 18 family members of the two dead men were in court on Wednesday and confirmed that they wanted Mr Davis to be freed and pardoned because they had received “blood money”. BBC also reported that a lawyer representing the family of one of those killed – Faizan Haider – said  that the “blood money” deal was done without his knowledge and that he was in detention when it was made.

The US Embassy in Pakistan released a
statement by Ambassador Cameron Munter dated March 16, 2011.  The statement did not include details on compensation paid but confirms a DOJ investigation into the shooting incident.

Islamabad — 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. 

I can confirm that the United States Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the incident in Lahore. 

I wish to express my respect for Pakistan and its people, and my thanks for their commitment to building our relationship, to everyone’s benefit. Most of all, I wish to reaffirm the importance that America places in its relationship with Pakistan, and the commitment of the American people to work with their Pakistani counterparts to move ahead in ways that will benefit us all. 

There are reports of demonstrators burning tyres outside the US consulate in Lahore. This report says that a number policemen were injured by the mob attacks. Jamaat-e-Islami and the other religious parties have reportedly called a countrywide strikes for Thursday and Friday to protest Davis’ release.