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Archive for Monday, August 19, 2002

New allegations emerge in case of slain reporter

August 19, 2002

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— Three Pakistani militants who led police to the body of Daniel Pearl claim the Wall Street Journal correspondent was murdered by an Arab three days after he tried to escape from kidnappers, investigators said Sunday.

The alleged new details of Pearl's kidnap-slaying do not exonerate British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted with three others July 15. Saeed was sentenced to death by hanging, and the others received life sentences.

However, their claims, which have been rumored for weeks in Pakistan, could influence the appeal filed by Saeed and the others with the High Court here in Sindh province. Some of the new purported details conflict with evidence presented at the first trial.

Pearl, 38, was kidnapped Jan. 23 in Karachi.

Two police investigators, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said three militants Naeem Bukhari, Fazal Karim and Zubair Chishti have admitted a role in Pearl's kidnapping. However, they have not been charged, and Pakistani authorities have not even acknowledged officially that they are being held.

According to the two investigators, Pearl tried to escape as he was being led to the toilet during his sixth day in captivity. However, he was tackled by Karim and Chishti, who beat him and shot him in the leg.

On the ninth day of the kidnapping, three Arabs, whom the suspects believed to have been Yemenis, were brought to the hide-out, the police said. One of the Arabs slit Pearl's throat, the officers said.

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