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Last Updated: Friday, 18 May 2007, 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK
'Daniel Pearl detainee' is dead
Saud Memon
Saud Memon was missing for years
A Pakistani man detained over the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl has died weeks after being released.

Saud Memon owned the property in the city of Karachi where Pearl's body was found after his kidnap in 2002.

Mr Memon's family say he disappeared in 2003 and was held in Guantanamo Bay before being dumped by unidentified men outside his Karachi home last month.

They deny he had anything to do with the murder. Doctors say Mr Memon died of tuberculosis and meningitis.

Court order

Mr Memon's family say he was in extremely bad health when he was returned to them, weighing just 18kg (44 pounds). He was also suffering psychiatric problems, they say.

The 44-year-old textiles businessman owned the shed and land where Pearl's body was found in a shallow grave after his kidnapping and beheading in January 2002.

Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and his murder shown on the internet

Mr Memon's family say he went missing for four years. They believe he was picked up by American FBI agents while on a trip to South Africa, taken to Guantanamo Bay and later handed to Pakistan.

Pakistani authorities said at the time of Pearl's murder they wanted to question Mr Memon but that they could not find him. They never acknowledged his detention.

But earlier this month Mr Memon was produced before Pakistan's Supreme Court, which is investigating "disappearances" of terror suspects allegedly being held by Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The court was alarmed at his condition and ordered he receive medical treatment and not be taken back into custody.

However, Mr Memon, a father of five, died at the Liaquat National Hospital in Karachi on Friday, his family said.

"We don't know who had been holding him for the past more than four years, but my brother had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or Daniel Pearl's murder," his brother told The Associated Press news agency.

Convictions

Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002.

Pictures of his murder appeared on internet sites later, but the identity of the killer was not clear.

British-born Islamist Ahmed Omar Sheikh was sentenced to death for the murder six months later, while three other men were given life imprisonment.

They are appealing against the verdict.

In March, alleged al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to personally beheading Pearl, according to an incomplete Pentagon transcript of his testimony at a military tribunal.




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