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Investigators vow relentless search for Pearl's killers

Investigators vow relentless search for Pearl's killers


KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's interior minister said Friday investigators "know the names" of the militants who abducted and killed American journalist Daniel Pearl and are taking "the strongest possible actions ... (to) bring them to swift justice."

Pearl's widow, Mariane, released a two-page letter Friday thanking the world for the outpouring of support during the month-long ordeal of her husband's abduction.

"From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my gratitude to all of the people throughout the world who have given Danny and me support and encouragement," she wrote.(Full statement)

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CNN's Chris Burns says the kidnapping and death of journalist Daniel Pearl remains a mystery to Pakistani authorities (February 22)

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The family of Daniel Pearl has established a charity "to support the causes to which he dedicated his life."

Donations can be sent to:
Daniel Pearl Family Foundation c/o The Wall Street Journal
P.O. Box 300
Princeton, N.J. 08543 U.S.A.

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Pearl, the south Asian bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped January 23. Investigators on Friday were examining a video said to show Pearl's killing to discover the time of the killing and clues to his killers, U.S. officials said.

A senior U.S. official told CNN that the tape came into American hands when two men approached an undercover FBI operative they believed to be a journalist. The whereabouts of those two men were unclear.

The tape reportedly shows Pearl alive and speaking, and then being killed as his throat is cut.

'We know their names'

The official said that investigators were analyzing the tape with forensic techniques to try to determine when Pearl was killed, and that more advanced techniques would be applied later in the United States.

"The tape contains some pretty gruesome stuff," the source said.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider told reporters that President Pervez Musharraf had telephoned his condolences to President Bush, and that both agreed "the perpetrators of this barbaric act cannot be the friends of Islam nor of Pakistan."

Haider also said that Pakistani investigators, with the accused ringleader of the kidnapping and three accomplices already in custody, are looking for four more suspects -- including the men believed to have abducted Pearl.

"We know their names, we know their identity," Haider said. "We have got some of their close relatives, who we are investigating, and we are surely after them ... and once that is done, the whole net will be broken."

Alleged ringleader freed in hijacking deal

Further investigations were looking at how Islamic extremists could seize a journalist, send e-mails with pictures of their hostage and still elude discovery.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Pearl's murder was "an absolute outrage."

"Both the United States and Pakistan are committed to identifying the perpetrators of the crime and bringing them to justice," said Boucher, who added that Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage had conveyed the same message to Pearl's widow.

President Bush, wrapping up a trip to China, said Thursday that Pearl's death had only deepened the resolve of the United States of America to rid the world of these agents of terror." (Full statement)

Pearl's abduction resulted in the arrests of several people believed to have been involved in the kidnapping, including Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh -- the man Pakistani officials called the ringleader.

Saeed Sheikh is an Islamic militant who was released from an Indian prison in 1999 as part of a deal to end the hijacking of an Indian jetliner. He told Pakistani officials at his first court appearance after his arrest earlier this month that "as far as I know" Pearl had been killed.

Another arrested suspect told a Pakistani court Thursday that Pearl was seized because he was "anti-Islam and a Jew." Fahad Naseem, who said he knew of plans of the abduction two days in advance, confessed to sending e-mails about Pearl's abduction at Saeed Sheikh's instructions and disclosed the roles of others in custody and some still at large, authorities said.

The e-mails contained photographs of Pearl in captivity and demands for the release of Pakistani detainees at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, compound where captured al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are being held.

Former hostage: Pearl won't be last victim

Former Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, who was kidnapped in 1985 and held by Islamic militants in Lebanon for nearly seven years, said that Pearl's killing would do nothing to further the militants' cause.

"Those who murdered him gained absolutely nothing," said Anderson, now the honorary co-chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists. "There was no purpose to his death, political or otherwise. They didn't even gain publicity for the cause that they supposedly espouse. On the contrary, they discredit their cause. ... It's just such a senseless and pointless murder that it's outrageous."

Journalist Charles Glass, who was kidnapped in Beirut in 1987 and escaped his captors two months later, said the investigation must extend beyond the kidnappers.

"Why was a member or leader of the kidnap group actually arrested by the Pakistanis, and why wasn't he able to provide better information on the exact location of Pearl?" Glass said. "All these things are going to have to be looked into, because I have a terrible feeling this won't be the last kidnapping of an American abroad by Muslim groups who are disenchanted with American foreign policy."

Musharraf sent his condolences to Pearl's family, pledged to find the reporter's killers and said he would not relent in his month-old crackdown on militant groups, which some believe may have been the impetus for the kidnapping.

While the investigation in Pakistan continued, friends, colleagues and family struggled to come to terms with a stunning loss. Pearl's close friend Daniel Gill told CNN that Pearl was "the absent-minded professor going to an interview with papers flying out of his shirt pockets."

"He just wanted to get a story," Gill said. "He wasn't about getting into the dangerous places. That wasn't for him. I believe he thought this was a safe assignment."

Peter R. Kann, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Paul E. Steiger, the paper's managing editor, said in a joint statement, "(Pearl's) murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny's kidnappers claimed to believe in."

Pearl was the 10th reporter to die while involved in coverage of the war against terrorism, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.



 
 
 
 






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