PAKISTAN -- Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador has gotten involved in the case of an American diplomat being held on murder charges in Pakistan.
"If we weren't in the middle of this crisis in Egypt, I think this would be what people were talking about right now," said Labrador.
Raymond Davis is accused of shooting and killing two Pakistani men, who U.S. officials say were attempting to rob him. But Labrador says some Pakistani officials are claiming that it was cold-blooded murder.
Just to clarify, Davis is not from Idaho that we know of. Labrador became involved in this issue because he said he found himself in Pakistan just a day or so after the shooting. The original goal of his delegation's trip was to investigate use of government funds in the Middle East. But once Davis was jailed, Labrador said this case became a priority.
"It was a sad event," he said. "(Davis) was just driving down the road in Pakistan, and two gunmen got off a motorcycle and one of them pointed a gun at him. He was carrying a gun, because he was part of the security detail out there, and he shot them both dead."
A third Pakistani was crushed to death by a consulate car that went to the scene to aid Davis. Davis was arrested and on Thursday a court extended his detention for eight days while police investigated the shooting.
"There's evidence that these gentlemen had just held up another car just down the street," Labrador said. "Some of the Pakistani leaders... They're trying to say that this was a cold-blooded murder, and there's no evidence that it was a cold-blooded murder."
Protesters have gathered outside the consulate chanting anti-U.S. slogans and waving posters reading 'Hang Raymond.'
"That's not why we went to Pakistan," said Labrador. "But every time we met with a government official, our delegation was asking them to please release him, because he's got diplomatic immunity."
A Pakistani judge disagrees, saying the court will decide whether Davis receives diplomatic immunity. They will not hand him over to U.S. custody yet either.
"This could become a major international dispute between our two countries, which could then diminish the help that we give to Pakistan," said Labrador. "That was the message I gave to all the people that I talked to. All the people in my district are not going to be very content that you guys are holding one of our diplomats, as we're spending billions of dollars in your country. So, we'll see what happens."
The U.S. State Department has also asked for Davis's release. Spokesman Philip Crowley said that Davis had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm.