Judge warns prosecutors in Pearl case, sets deadline for charges
KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- For a third time, a Pakistani judge Tuesday extended the deadline for prosecutors to file charges against suspects in the kidnap-slaying of American journalist Daniel Pearl, but warned them that time was running out.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh -- the key suspect in Pearl's murder -- was taken into custody February 5 and has already been held through two 14-day remands granted by the Sindh High Court, a provincial court in southern Pakistan.
The judge said there would be no more extensions, and charges must be filed by March 22.
The head prosecutor -- Advocate General Raja Qureshi -- told the court he needed more time because there were still other suspects that need to be arrested and false names were making tracking difficult.
"I would not say that we don't have ample evidence. We do have ample evidence, but given the nature of the case further time is required," Qureshi said outside the courtroom.
Saeed, along with Salman Saquib, Saquib's brother, Fahad Naseem, and Sheikh Adil are all expected to face charges in Pearl's kidnapping and death. Only Saeed and Adil appeared in court Tuesday.
Saeed offered a chilling threat as he was lead from the court after the hearing.
"American will suffer if I am killed in a false encounter at their behest," Saeed said, referring to a high court decision that said he could be extradited to the United States as long as it was according to Pakistani law.
Saeed has admitted in court that he orchestrated the plot against Pearl, although his statement was not made under oath, so it cannot be used as evidence.
On February 21, the U.S. State Department confirmed The Wall Street Journal reporter was killed, based on a videotape showing his body, which has not yet been found.
Pearl suspect to be tried in Pakistan, Musharraf spokesman says
March 5, 2002
Pearl kidnap suspect's wife petitions against U.S. extradition moves
March 2, 2002
U.S. offers $5 million reward in Pearl case
February 28, 2002
Pearl kidnap suspect remanded
February 25, 2002
Report: Suspect says Pearl killing part of larger plot
February 24, 2002
U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl is dead, officials confirm
February 22, 2002
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