Pearl slaying trial continues, with FBI agents to take stand

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Associated Press WriterKARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- Three men who were arrested Thursday in the slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl have directed police to where they say his body is located, a senior police official said.

The police were en route to Orangi, on the western edge of Karachi, where they were told they would find Pearl's body, the official said on condition of anonymity.

No further information was immediately available about the three new suspects.

Pearl was kidnapped Jan. 23 in the southern port city of Karachi 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.

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

The court trying the four resumed its hearing Thursday with the cross-examination of FBI agents by defense attorneys.

The FBI agents arrived at the heavily fortified Hyderabad Jail surrounded by Pakistan's paramilitary Rangers as well as armed police. They drove past reporters waiting outside the jail. The trial is closed to reporters, who have to rely on defense attorneys and prosecutors for details of the proceedings.

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

FBI experts traced the e-mails that were sent by Pearl's captors to foreign and local news publications. Photographs of a captive Pearl accompanied the e-mails, which were signed by a previously unknown group demanding better treatment for the suspected Taliban and al-Qaida men being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The trial, which began April 22 in Karachi, was relocated to Hyderabad after Chief Prosecutor Raja Quereshi said he feared for his life. He said his fears were vindicated after last week's suicide bombing that killed 14 people, including 11 French engineers, in Karachi.

The four defendants have pleaded innocent. The chief defendant, British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, recanted an earlier admission of involvement Pearl's kidnapping.

The prosecution has called several witnesses to try to make their case that the defendants lured Pearl to a restaurant in Karachi from which he was kidnapped, took photographs of him in captivity and then circulated the photographs and threats via e-mail to foreign and local news organizations.

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