US man Raymond Davis shot Pakistan pair 'in cold blood'

An armoured car carrying Raymond Davis leaves a court in Lahore on 11 February 2011 Raymond Davis was brought to court amid tight security

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A Pakistani police chief has said a US citizen in custody over the deaths of two men in Lahore last month was guilty of "cold-blooded murder".

Lahore city police chief Aslam Tareen told a news conference that one of the men was killed while running away.

He spoke after Raymond Davis was remanded for another 14 days following an appearance in a Lahore court.

Mr Davis, 36, has admitted he shot the men, but says he acted in self-defence because they were trying to rob him.

The court has ordered the Pakistani government to clarify US embassy claims that Mr Davis has diplomatic immunity.

He is charged on two counts - murder and possession of illegal weapons.

'Tremendous pressure'

Mr Tareen told a news conference: "The police investigation and forensic report show it was not self-defence.

"His plea has been rejected by police investigators. He gave no chance to them to survive.

Pakistani police escort US national Raymond Davis (centre) to a court in Lahore on 28 January 2011 Raymond Davis says the men were trying to hijack his vehicle at gunpoint

Mr Tareen also said that forensic evidence did not support Mr Davis's claim that one of the motorbike riders had approached his car window, cocked his gun and pointed it at him.

No fingerprints had been uncovered on the triggers of the pistols found on the bodies of the two men, he said.

And tests had shown that the bullets remained in the magazine of the men's gun, not the chamber.

"It was cold-blooded murder," said Mr Tareen. "Eyewitnesses have told police that he directly shot at them and he kept shooting even when one was running away. It was an intentional murder."

Police officials have previously said that the two men were street robbers, although conspiracy theorists have suggested that the pair were members of Pakistani intelligence.

Mr Davis was taken to court very early on Friday to avoid the media and possible protests, the BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says.

The American has reportedly been sent to the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. His next hearing is scheduled for 25 February.

He is said to have told police that he acted in self-defence during the incident on 27 January because the motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger tried to hijack his vehicle at gunpoint.

As his colleagues came to his aid, their vehicle ran over and killed a third person.

Mr Tareen said police had written five times to the US consulate in Lahore, requesting access to the consulate vehicle involved in that collision.

It is not clear what Mr Davis's role in Lahore was - American officials in the capital Islamabad have said only that he was an US embassy employee who was part of the "administrative and technical staff".

The Associated Press news agency says Pentagon records show that Mr Davis is a former Special Forces soldier who left the army in 2003 after 10 years of service.

BBC correspondents say the case is threatening to derail relations between the US and Pakistan, a crucial ally in the fight against militants.

Islamabad is under tremendous pressure at home, with demands that Mr Davis must stand trial in Pakistan and not be handed over to the US government.

Earlier this month, the Lahore High Court barred officials from freeing Mr Davis and ordered them to place his name on the "exit control list" to stop him leaving Pakistan.

Last weekend tensions rose further when the widow of one of the men shot dead by Mr Davis killed herself by taking poison.

In her dying statement, she said she feared the American would be released without trial, police and doctors said.

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