Prosecutors Press To Hear Pearl’s Widow

By: Zarar Khan, Associated Press Writer

(AP) Prosecutors pressed Monday for the pregnant widow of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl to testify as soon as possible against four Islamic radicals charged in his kidnapping and murder.

The court is expected to rule Tuesday on the request for a panel to travel to London to take a statement from Mariane Pearl, who lives in Paris and is expected to deliver her first child around June 2.

“Irrespective of what procedure is adopted — whether the commission is sent or Mariane Pearl comes here — the evidence should be recorded as early as possible,” Prosecutor Raja Quereshi said.

Last week, the widow’s attorney, M. Jamil, said she has agreed to go to London or to Pakistan to testify, as long as doctors approve her travel after the baby’s birth. But Jamil told the court Monday that he is not able to say whether or when she would come.

Prosecutors have been trying to speed up the trial because of potential complications arising from the discovery of a dismembered body found May 17 in the southern port city of Karachi, where Pearl disappeared in January.

Defense attorneys have said that if DNA tests confirm it is Pearl and new suspects are charged as a result, the current trial would have to be thrown out and a new one begun.

The four men charged in the case, including chief suspect Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, have plead not guilty. The trial began April 22 in Karachi but was moved to Hyderabad after the prosecution raised fears of violence breaking out from the area’s Muslim militants.

Defense attorneys cross-examined two witnesses Monday who testified earlier. The prosecution still has two witnesses left to testify — both senior police officials.

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