May 8, 2014 / 6:42 AM / 6 years ago

FBI agent arrested at Pakistan airport to be released on bail: police

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent arrested in Pakistan for trying to board a civilian flight with bullets and a knife in his luggage was due to be released on $10,000 bail on Thursday, Pakistani authorities said.

Joel Cox, confirmed by the U.S. State Department as an FBI agent, was arrested on Sunday at the airport in the southern city of Karachi after trying to board a flight with the knife and 15 9-mm bullets in his luggage, police said.

He had yet to leave the court, a witness said. Bail conditions included a payment of 1 million rupees ($10,000).

“The government can challenge the bail but since the offence is not serious enough they might not challenge it,” a police officer said.

The case has revived memories of Raymond Davis, an American Central Intelligence Agency contractor who was arrested in January 2011 after shooting dead two men he believed were about to rob him in the eastern city of Lahore.

Many Pakistanis were angry that Davis was released after compensation was paid to the families of the dead and he was pardoned, a practice allowed under Pakistani law.

Cox appeared in court on Tuesday on what police said were charges of carrying unauthorized ammunition on a civilian flight and was remanded in custody.

His equipment, including his laptop, has been sent to a forensic laboratory for testing.

A State Department spokeswoman said Washington was working closely with Pakistan to resolve Cox’s arrest.

“This individual detained is an employee of the FBI, who was on a temporary duty assignment to provide routine assistance to the legal attaché at the U.S. mission,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in her daily briefing in Washington on Wednesday.

“We are coordinating closely to resolve this with authorities, and we are hopeful in that regard,” she said.

The Davis case demonstrated the deep suspicion on both sides that pervades the uneasy alliance between the United States and Pakistan. Both governments officially cooperate on fighting militancy but have traded public accusations in the past.

Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in WASHINGTON; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Nick Macfie

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