- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - The attorney for a man convicted of killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl said yesterday he will file an appeal using an al Qaeda lieutenant’s recent confession that he beheaded the reporter.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has claimed that he planned the September 11, 2001, attacks, claimed at a U.S. military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that he personally beheaded Mr. Pearl because he thought he was an Israeli intelligence agent.

“I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan,” Mohammed told a military panel, according to a Pentagon transcript released Thursday. “For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”

In 2002, an anti-terrorism court in Karachi sentenced Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheik, a British-born militant, to death and gave three men life in prison for involvement in Mr. Pearl’s killing.

Rai Bashir, an attorney for Sheik and the three men, said yesterday that he will study the Pentagon documents on Mohammed’s claim and file his confession as evidence to prove Sheik’s innocence.

“He has not abducted Daniel Pearl, and he, along with his co-accused, is innocent. But now we are happy that this version has been verified by the Pentagon after the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,” Mr. Bashir told Associated Press Television News on Saturday.

Mr. Pearl was abducted in January 2002 in Karachi while he was researching a story on Islamic militancy. Months after his abduction, the journalist’s body, his throat slit, was found in a shallow ditch in a compound on the outskirts of the city.

Sheik and the three others Salman Saqib, Fahad Naseem and Sheik Adil are in prison and have appealed their convictions.

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