U.S. Embassy Calls for Release of American Diplomat
Islamabad, January 29, 2011 – The United States Embassy in Pakistan calls for the immediate release of a U.S. diplomat unlawfully detained by authorities in Lahore.
The diplomat, assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, has a U.S. diplomatic passport and Pakistani visa valid until June 2012.
On January 27, the diplomat acted in self-defense when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles. The diplomat had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm. Minutes earlier, the two men, who had criminal backgrounds, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area.
When detained, the U.S. diplomat identified himself to police as a diplomat and repeatedly requested immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Local police and senior authorities failed to observe their legal obligation to verify his status with either the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore or the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. Furthermore, the diplomat was formally arrested and remanded into custody, which is a violation of international norms and the Vienna Convention, to which Pakistan is a signatory.
We regret that this incident resulted in loss of life.
We greatly value the cooperation and partnership between Pakistan and the United States, which is vital to the interests of both countries. The U.S. Embassy is committed to working closely with the Pakistani government to secure the immediate release of the diplomat, as required under Pakistani and international law.