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Pakistan Judge Blocks Release Of U.S. Diplomat Shooting Suspect

Police escort arrested U.S. national Raymond Davis (center) to a court in Lahore on January 28.
A Pakistani judge in the city of Lahore has ordered Pakistani authorities not to release a U.S. official who has been detained in connection with the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis.

The Lahore High Court judge has also told the government to place the American on the "exit control list" that would prevent him from leaving the country.

The Associated Press reports that the chief justice of the Lahore High Court, Ijaz Chaudhry, has also called on Pakistani authorities to determine within 15 days whether the American has diplomatic immunity.

On January 31, the United States repeated demands that Pakistan release the American, saying he has been illegally detained and is entitled to full immunity under the Vienna Convention.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley also said the Obama administration agrees that the diplomat, identified as Raymond Davis, was acting in self-defense when he allegedly shot two armed men on motorcycles last week in Lahore.

U.S. officials say the diplomat believed the Pakistanis were trying to rob him at gunpoint.

The State Department spokesman said the diplomat is a member of what he described as the "technical administrative staff" of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.

compiled from agency reports