Appeals in Daniel Pearl Killing Resume

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A court in Pakistan on Monday resumed hearing appeals by four men convicted in the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl after nearly four years of delays in the case, lawyers said.

A British-born militant — Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh — was sentenced to death and the three other men — Salman Saqib, Fahad Naseem and Sheikh Adil — were given life in prison by an anti-terrorism court in Karachi in 2002 for involvement in Pearl’s killing.

Pearl was researching a story on Islamic militancy in Karachi when he was abducted in January 2002. Months later the journalist’s body — with his throat slit — was found in a shallow ditch in a compound on the outskirts of Karachi.

The Sindh High Court held an initial appeals hearing in January 2003 but proceedings have since been repeatedly postponed, mostly due to stalling tactics by defense lawyers seeking more time to prepare.

On Monday, the appeals proceedings resumed in front of a two-member panel of the high court in Karachi. A lawyer for Sheikh began reading out the evidence that the prosecution had produced against his client in the trial court.

Defense lawyer Khawaja Sultan Ahmed told reporters outside the court that he will point out flaws in the prosecution’s evidence.

The accused are seeking to overturn their convictions. The government is seeking the death penalty for the three men who were given jail terms.

Prosecution lawyer Raja Qureshi said appeals proceedings will be held on a daily basis. The next hearing will be on Tuesday.

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