Archive for Friday, May 17, 2002

Police ‘sure’ body is that of reporter

May 17, 2002


— Police are "quite sure" that the body they found in southern Karachi is that of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, Pakistan's presidential spokesman said today.

"They are still examining the body, but from the clues they found last night they are quite sure," Gen. Rashid Quereshi told The Associated Press by telephone from Islamabad. He would not elaborate.

A team of four forensic experts went today to a shallow grave in southern Karachi where police uncovered a body Thursday. Three new suspects in Pearl's kidnapping led police to the body.

The suspects identified the body as that of Pearl, said Dr. Qasim Soomro, Sindh provincial police surgeon.

A heavily armed convoy of police accompanied the forensic team to the grave in Gadap, a neighborhood 18 miles from the center of this sprawling city of 14 million people.

The body was dug up late Thursday, but was not removed in order to protect the site and the evidence, Soomro said.

One of the forensic specialists, Dr. Tariq Mirza, is a DNA expert, Soomro said.

Uniformed police were at the site, he said.

The area where the body was found is a barren field with ankle-high bushes on small hillocks. Several nearby buildings are under construction and a cement wall is located near where the body was found.

Pearl disappeared four months ago from outside a restaurant in Karachi while investigating international terrorism.

No details were immediately available about the three newest suspects.

Four Islamic radicals have been on trial since April 22 on charges of murder and kidnapping in the case. They have pleaded innocent.

Pearl was kidnapped on Jan. 23, and a gruesome three-minute video was delivered to U.S. officials in Karachi a month later showing Pearl's brutal death.

He was researching Pakistani extremists and their possible links to Richard C. Reid, who was arrested in December on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes.

The FBI was called in to assist Pakistan soon after Pearl was kidnapped.

It wasn't immediately known whether an FBI forensic team was involved in examination of the body.

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