- The Washington Times - Friday, May 17, 2002

KARACHI, Pakistan Three men arrested yesterday in the slaying of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl directed police to where they said his body had been buried, a senior police official said.

Police dug up a body in an open field in a poor neighborhood on the western edge of Karachi, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

The official said the body was not being removed from the site while the scene was being examined and tests conducted to determine identity.

No further information was available about the three new suspects.

Four Islamic radicals have been on trial since April 22 on charges of murder and kidnapping. They have pleaded not guilty.

Mr. 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 his death.

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

After his disappearance, e-mail messages with photos of a captive Mr. Pearl were sent to foreign and local news publications. They were signed by a previously unknown group demanding better treatment for the suspected Taliban and al Qaeda fighters being held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

U.S. investigators traced the e-mail to one of the defendants, Fahad Naseem, who in turn identified a British-born militant, Ahmed Omar Saeed, as the mastermind, police said. Naseem's cousin, Salman Saqib, and former policeman Sheik Mohammed Adeel are also on trial.

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

The court trying the four resumed yesterday with the cross-examination of two FBI agents by defense attorneys, who claim the video is a fake and should not be admitted as evidence.

The trial is closed to reporters, who have to rely on defense attorneys and prosecutors for details of the proceedings.

Defense attorney Rai Bashir said that video expert John Falgon, who had testified about obtaining the videotape that showed Mr. Pearl with his throat cut, admitted that "such videos can be prepared through computers."

In separate testimony, Mr. Bashir said that Ronald Joseph, the other expert, "admitted that all such e-mails can be fed into computers by anyone when the computer is hacked."

He also pointed out that "nowhere in the e-mails" retrieved by Mr. Joseph from the laptop "did the alleged kidnappers make demands of ransom or threats."

The prosecution has called several witnesses to make its case that the defendants lured Mr. Pearl to the restaurant in Karachi, from where he was kidnapped, took photographs of him in captivity and then circulated the photographs and threats via e-mail.

Chief prosecutor Raja Quereshi did not comment on the day's testimony.

Saeed admitted his role in the kidnapping during a pretrial court appearance Feb. 14 but later recanted. His statement is inadmissible at the trial because it was not made under oath.

The court is expected to rule today on a prosecution request to send a commission to Europe to obtain a statement from Mr. Pearl's widow, Mariane.


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