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C.I.A. contractor freed in Pakistan



C.I.A. contractor Raymond A. Davis was released from Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, Pakistan at 4:20 p.m., local time. American officials won the release of Mr. Davis on Wednesday, who was under investigation for two counts of murder, by making a payment to the families of the victims.

After meeting with the American officials for more than six hours at the jail where Mr. Davis was held, the families accepted the money, ending the case, the lawyer, Mr. Asad Manzoor Butt said. Mr. Butt did not specify the amount but said that the families were pressured to accept the payment.

Mr. Davis had been held at the jail since January 27, 2011 after shooting and killing two motorbike riders in the middle of the day in downtown Lahore.The American Embassy had insisted that Mr. Davis had diplomatic immunity and should be released. But the Pakistani government denied that Mr. Davis was entitled to full immunity.

Under Pakistani law, families of the victims can demand so-called blood money or compensation, they can also demand blood for blood, in the form of a death sentence. Once an agreement is reached between the parties, the state prosecution is closed.

The case strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, and authorities were eager to resolve the incident before meetings next month with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.