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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Brother says killer is no terrorist
Omar Sheikh
Omar Sheikh studied in London
The family of the British-born militant sentenced to death in Pakistan for murdering the American journalist Daniel Pearl has continued to protest his innocence.

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, 27, was convicted of masterminding Mr Pearl's brutal killing.

His three co-accused, Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil, were also found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.


Essentially, I am saying my brother is not a terrorist and has no association with terrorists

Awais Sheikh

But Awais Sheikh, the brother of Omar Sheikh, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme the trial had been a farce and a foregone conclusion.

He also insisted his brother, a former student at the London School of Economics, was not a terrorist.

"I have seen a whole host of lies and fabrications being put forward in a court which is not fair by any sense of the word.

"The whole trial has been a farce. It has been manifestly unfair," he said.

"My brother is very distraught about the sentence because he is about to be convicted and hanged for a crime he did not commit."

Presidential pressure

Awais Sheikh, who said there would be an appeal, added that there had been external pressure for the court to find his brother guilty.

He said Pakistan's President Musharraf had spoken out against Omar Sheikh several times during the trial.

Daniel Pearl
A video of Daniel Pearl's death was sent to US officials
"For the dictator of a country to express a desire to see an accused convicted and hanged while the trial is ongoing must shed doubt on the verdict," he said.

In a statement read out by his lawyer, Omar Sheikh reacted defiantly to his death sentence, saying the trial was a "waste of time" in a "decisive war between Islam and infidels".

But Awais Sheikh rejected claims that his brother had a history of terrorism.

'No terrorist'

Eight years ago Omar Sheikh was arrested by Indian police, accused of kidnapping three Britons and an American in India.

In 1999, while serving a prison sentence for terrorist offences, an Indian Airlines plane was hijacked to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

And in exchange for the 155 hostages on the plane, Omar Sheikh was freed from jail.

But Awais Sheikh said his brother had been acquitted of the kidnap charges and was being held illegally as the authorities used delaying tactics.

And although his brother was released after the hijack, his name had not been on the hijackers' list of demands, he said.

"Essentially, I am saying my brother is not a terrorist and has no association with terrorists, despite all the accusations levelled against him," he said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Awais Sheikh, brother of Omar Sheikh
"My brother is not a terrorist"
Tom Jennings, friend of Daniel Pearl
"The Pearl family are quite content with this particular part of the trial"
 VOTE RESULTS
Did Omar Sheikh get a fair trial?

Yes
 68.93% 

No
 31.07% 

882 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


The victim

The militant

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See also:

15 Jul 02 | South Asia
16 Jul 02 | South Asia
15 Jul 02 | South Asia
15 Jul 02 | Politics
21 Jun 02 | South Asia
10 Jul 02 | South Asia
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