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Pakistan Says Courts to Decide Fate of Detained American

Pakistani police escort arrested US national, identified as Raymond Davis (C), to a court in Lahore on January 28, 2011

Pakistani officials have again said the country's courts will decide the fate of a detained U.S. consulate employee accused of murder, who media reports say works for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Reuters news agency on Tuesday quoted President Asif Ali Zardari's spokesman, as saying the matter is in court and "we will wait for the court decision in this case."

Raymond Davis was arrested in late January for killing two Pakistani men in Lahore during what U.S. officials say was a botched robbery attempt. His trial is set to begin Friday and, due to security concerns, it will take place at the prison where he is being held.

The United States says Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released immediately. A Lahore court has yet to rule on his status.

U.S. media has quoted unnamed U.S. officials who say Davis was working as a security contractor for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency at the time of his arrest.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Monday the U.S. is concerned about Davis' safety, and believes he was acting in self defense. Pakistani police have rejected Davis' version of events and accuse the American of committing murder.

The case has raised tensions between Washington and Islamabad and brought to light some of the CIA's activities in Pakistan. The Central Intelligence Agency has operated a controversial unmanned drone program targeting militants in the country's northwest tribal regions. The United States does not publicly acknowledge the drone strikes, which Pakistan says is a violation of its sovereignty.