Lawyer Rai Bashir Ahmed, who represents Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, said he had not received any new dates for a hearing in a while. “The last hearing date was when [the late lawyer] Khwaja Sultan was still alive, around three months ago or even earlier. Sultan sahib sent an adjournment because he told me he wasn’t feeling well, and the hearing before that I sent an adjournment because I was busy in the Supreme Court.”
Khwaja Sultan, who was one of the defence lawyers, passed away after a brief illness earlier this year.
Ahmed says one potential reason for the delay could be that documents need to be submitted by the lawyer replacing Sultan. They need to state that he is now part of the defence counsel.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was sentenced to death and Salman Saqib, Fahad Naseem and Shaikh Adil were given 25-year sentences in 2002. The appellate hearing, according to Ahmed, would not hear any new evidence but would only review what was presented in the past. When asked about reports of evidence that could impact the case, he said they were not admissible, “since [they were] just the opinion of journalists”.
In a 2011 investigative report on Pearl’s kidnapping and murder, by American journalists and students, the authors stated that, “In their haste to close the case, Pakistani authorities knowingly used perjured testimony to pin the actual act of murder on Omar Sheikh and his three co-conspirators.
While the four were involved in the kidnapping plan and certainly were culpable, they were not present when Pearl was murdered. Others, who were present and actually assisted in the brutal beheading, were not charged.”
According to the report, US officials have used vein-matching techniques to match the hand in the photo of Pearl’s execution with Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the alleged plotter of the 9/11 attacks who is currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Ahmed said he was in touch with the parents of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Salman Saqib and they have been to jail to visit their sons.
Annual Daniel Pearl Music Day:
Given that ‘Harmony for Humanity’ was the theme for the annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day event in Karachi, the hosts – the US Consulate – picked wisely in having Arieb Azhar and Noori perform.
The heritage building where the US consul general’s residence is located, heaved with the drum rolls, as the bands paid tribute to the late Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl with their selection of music, themed around oneness and spirituality.
US Consul General Michael Dodman said that the event had “huge significance” because it was being held in Karachi, the same city where Pearl was kidnapped and killed in 2002, “because of what Daniel Pearl represented and projected – tolerance and calm.”
Pearl’s legacy in Karachi wasn’t the images of his captivity and execution that left millions shocked, but the soulful, evocative music bursting out onto the street.
Original article from February 21, 2002:
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, kidnapped last month on his way to interview a Muslim fundamentalist leader in Pakistan, has been killed by his abductors, officials said Thursday. The U.S. government condemned his killing as “an outrage” and his newspaper called it an “act of barbarism.”
FBI and Pakistani officials said they received a videotape containing “indisputable” confirmation that the 38-year-old Pearl had been killed.
A spokesman for the Home Government Department of the province of Sindh said authorities received the tape around 11 p.m. local time (1 p.m. EST) and it “contained scenes showing Mr. Daniel Pearl in captivity and scenes of his murder by the kidnappers.”
It’s not clear exactly when he may have been killed. Two Pakistani men approached a Pakistani journalist offering up the tape, and a U.S. law enforcement agent acquired it, a U.S. official said.
Pearl’s January 23 abduction prompted appeals from top U.S. and Pakistani officials for his release, and resulted in the arrests of several people believed to have been involved in the kidnapping — including the man Pakistani officials identified as the ringleader, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh.
“We now believe, based on reports from the U.S. State Department and police officials of the Pakistani province of Sind, that Danny Pearl was killed by his captors. We are heartbroken at his death,” said Paul Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal. (Full statement)
“Danny was an outstanding colleague, a great reporter, and a dear friend of many at the Journal. His murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny’s kidnappers claimed to believe in,” Steiger said.
Pearl’s wife, Mariane, is pregnant with their first child. From their home in Encino, California, his parents, Judea and Ruth Pearl, issued a statement on behalf of the family, calling him “a beloved son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and a father to a child who will never know him.” (Full statement)
“We were shocked and saddened at the confirmation that our worst fears have been realized. Up until a few hours ago we were confident that Danny would return safely, for we believed no human being would be capable of harming such a gentle soul,” the parents said. “Danny’s senseless murder lies beyond our comprehension.”
President Bush said such “barbaric acts” only deepen his resolve in the fight against terrorism.