CIA Employee released after Pakistan killings

March 16, 2011 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
Mohammad Wasim (C), the brother of one of the men shot by Raymond Davis, leaves a court building in Lahore on Monday.
Mohammad Wasim (C), the brother of one of the men shot by Raymond Davis, leaves a court building in Lahore on Monday.
  • NEW: Raymond Davis is forgiven by the families of his victims, a minister says
  • He says he shot two men in Lahore when he was attacked
  • The U.S. claims Davis has diplomatic immunity, but a Pakistani court ruled otherwise
  • The incident has strained relations between the U.S. and a key ally

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- CIA contractor Raymond Davis has been released from jail in Pakistan after the families of two men he killed in January forgave him, a government official said Wednesday.
Punjab province law minister Rana Sanaullah first told Pakistani media that the victims' families did not want to press charges and added soon after that Davis was free to go.
The statement came just hours after the American was charged with murder in connection with the shootings.
The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan declined to answer repeated CNN questions about whether Davis had left jail or where he is now.
According to Davis, the January 27 shooting occurred after two men attacked him as he drove through a busy Lahore neighborhood, the U.S. Embassy says.
The case has heightened tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
The United States had been seeking the release of Davis on the grounds that he has diplomatic immunity.
But a high court in Pakistan refused Monday to decide whether the CIA contractor has diplomatic immunity, sending the case back to a lower court, the official Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
The lower court had already ruled that Davis does not enjoy protected diplomatic status because neither he nor the Pakistani government has provided documents proving that he does.
U.S. officials originally said Davis was a diplomat and later revealed that he is a CIA contractor, intensifying the already highly charged situation.
Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in efforts against al Qaeda and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, and the shooting deaths outraged many Pakistanis.
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