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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Pearl suspects' plea rejected
Hyderabad Central Jail where the trial will resume on Wednesday
The murder trial has been delayed several times
The Pakistani Supreme Court has rejected a defence appeal against the change in venue of the trial of those accused of murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Judge Ali Ashraf Shah speaking to the press in Hyderabad
New defence lawyers were appointed

The trial had been moved from Pakistan's largest city Karachi to the southern city of Hyderabad after prosecution lawyers complained of serious security concerns.

The court dismissed the petition filed by defence lawyers, saying the change in venue to a court in Hyderabad's central prison was justified.

"The proceedings will now resume in Hyderabad prison on Saturday," Chief Prosecutor Raja Qureshi told the AFP news agency.

The four men accused of kidnapping and murdering Daniel Pearl, who have all pleaded innocent, face the death penalty if convicted.

Delays

The trial has been already been delayed several times after petitions from both sides.

The anti-terrorism court was moved to Hyderabad after prosecutors said they had found out about plans to attack Karachi central jail where it had been sitting.

Daniel Pearl shackled in captivity
Mr Pearl's body has not been found

The prosecutors also persuaded the High Court to change the judge because they said the previous one was unable to stop defendants making threatening gestures.

The trial was then adjourned on the day it was due to resume in Hyderabad because some of the defence lawyers were missing.

The prosecution still have over 20 witnesses to call, including computer experts from the FBI who examined the e-mail sent to news organisations with photographs of Mr Pearl in captivity.

Mr Pearl, who worked for the "Wall Street Journal" disappeared from Karachi in January, while working on a report on Islamic militants.

A video showing his throat being slit was handed to the American Consulate but his body has never been found.

Pakistan has turned down a request by the United States for the extradition of the four suspects.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said his administration wanted the people of Pakistan to know the government would act strongly against terrorism.

See also:

30 Apr 02 | South Asia
Pearl trial lawyers win new venue
25 Apr 02 | South Asia
Pearl trial lawyers request new judge
24 Apr 02 | South Asia
New evidence in Pearl case hearings
23 Apr 02 | South Asia
Pearl murder trial security fears
19 Apr 02 | South Asia
Pearl trial judge removed
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