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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Pearl suspect hails attacks on US
Daniel Pearl holding up newspaper
Daniel Pearl: Went missing in Karachi in January
The chief defendant in the trial in Pakistan of the alleged killers of US journalist Daniel Pearl has said the United States deserved the 11 September attacks.


The Americans should have realised by now that whatever happened on 11 September, they deserved that

Omar Sheikh
In a statement released through his lawyers, Omar Sheikh also said that new attacks could come because of US military action in Afghanistan and Israel's actions against the Palestinians.

He also referred to the incident this week in Afghanistan in which US forces are alleged to have bombed a wedding party, describing it as "barbaric."

The statement came as defence lawyers began their summing up in the case.

Daniel Pearl went missing in the southern city of Karachi in January while working on a story about Islamic militants.

The following month a video was sent to the US consulate in Karachi showing him being killed.

'Contradictory' evidence

Omar Sheikh's lawyer, Abdul Waheed Katpar, told the court in his final summation that testimony by several prosecution witnesses was contradictory.

Omar Sheikh
Omar Sheikh: Could face death penalty
He also said that allegations that evidence was fabricated and confessions coerced were not answered.

In such circumstances, the benefit of the doubt should go to the defendants, Mr Katpar argued.

Omar Sheikh has already described the evidence against him as "a tissue of lies" and said it had been fabricated "to please the Americans".

And he has accused the police of forcing his co-defendants to make statements implicating him.

He is on trial with three others in a heavily-guarded anti-terrorist court in Hyderabad.

The four men face charges of murder, kidnapping and terrorist activities which carry the death penalty.

Kidnap 'mastermind'

Omar Sheikh is charged with masterminding Mr Pearl's kidnapping.

The three other men are alleged to have acted on his instructions. The prosecution has alleged that Omar Sheikh was seen meeting Daniel Pearl at a restaurant in Karachi on the day he disappeared.

Defence lawyers have denied that he was in Karachi at the time.

Final statements are expected to conclude in the next few days, after which the judge will retire to consider his verdict.


The victim

The militant

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See also:

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