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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Pearl trial ends in Pakistan
Daniel Pearl holding up newspaper
Daniel Pearl: Went missing in Karachi in January
The trial in Pakistan of the alleged killers of US journalist Daniel Pearl has ended and the judge has retired to consider his verdict.


The trial is over and the verdict will be announced on Monday

Defence lawyer
Reports quoted court officials as saying a verdict against British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three co-defendants is due on Monday.

The four men, who have all pleaded not guilty, are accused of kidnapping and murdering Mr Pearl in the southern city of Karachi in January.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers summed up their final arguments before the end of the trial in the heavily fortified anti-terrorism court in the southern city of Hyderabad.

The prosecution wants the death penalty, but defence lawyers have argued that the charges be dismissed because of inconsistent and allegedly fabricated evidence.

Death demand

Mr Pearl went missing while working on a story about Islamic militants for the Wall Street Journal.

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

Omar Sheikh
Omar Sheikh: Could face death penalty

"We are demanding the death penalty for all four accused," chief prosecutor Raja Qureshi told reporters after the closed-door session.

Reports said Judge Ali Ashraf Shah rescheduled proceedings until Monday, when a verdict is expected.

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

The trial began on April 22 in Karachi, but was transferred to Hyderabad after prosecutors said they feared for their lives.

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

The three other men are alleged to have acted on his instructions.

A body which police believe may be that of Mr Pearl was found in May, but the results of DNA tests have yet to be announced.

Coercion allegation

Omar Sheikh has 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.

His lawyer, Abdul Waheed Katpar, told the court last week that testimony by several prosecution witnesses was contradictory.

He also said that allegations that evidence was fabricated and confessions coerced had not been answered.

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

The prosecution has alleged that Omar Sheikh was seen meeting Daniel Pearl at a restaurant in Karachi on the day he disappeared.

Defence lawyers deny he was in Karachi at the time.


The victim

The militant

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