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Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Sindh court defers Pearl video ruling
Chief prosecutor in Pearl case
Raja Qureshi (centre) leaving Karachi High Court
A High Court in Pakistan on Tuesday reserved judgement on whether defence lawyers could have access to the video which, according to prosecutors, shows the murder of the American reporter Daniel Pearl.


The High Court has reserved its judgement until further notice

Raja Qureshi, chief prosecutor

Defence lawyers for four men on trial for Mr Pearl's murder in an anti-terrorism court had asked for a copy of the video, so that experts could review it to determine its authenticity.

Daniel Pearl, who worked for the Wall Street Journal, disappeared in the southern port city of Karachi on 23 January while working on stories about Islamic militants.

Officials have refused to release the video, but the US television network CBS later broadcast parts of it, despite objections from Pearl's family.

Excerpts of the video are reportedly available on the internet.

Judgement reserved

The video, apparently showing Mr Pearl being murdered, was delivered to US consulate officials in Karachi a month after he disappeared.

Daniel Pearl
Daniel Pearl went missing in Karachi

According to the authorities in Pakistan, the tape first showed Mr Pearl talking about his Jewish ancestry, followed by his throat being cut and then, the reporter's severed head.

The Sindh provincial High Court last week suspended a trial court order that had given defence lawyers access to the video.

"The suspension of the trial court order will continue; the High Court has reserved its judgement until further notice," said Chief Prosecutor Raja Qureshi.

He said that the court did not give any definite dates for announcing its final judgement on the issue.

Murder case

British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, also known as Omar Sheikh, is charged with masterminding Mr Pearl's kidnapping.

Three other men are also on trial in the same anti-terrorism court in Hyderabad, 115 kilometres north of Karachi, for allegedly acting on his instructions.

All four have pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism, kidnapping and murder and their trial is being heard behind closed doors at the special court in Hyderabad prison.

The murder trial will resume on Wednesday.


The victim

The militant

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