Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Pakistan - United States 20 July 2007

Support for Mariane Pearl’s lawsuit against Al-Qaeda members, Pakistani bank and Islamic trust

Reporters Without Borders supports the US lawsuit that Mariane Pearl has brought against Al Qaeda members, a Pakistani bank and an Islamic charity for their alleged role in the January 2002 murder of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. She said in a statement: "I am trying to find out the truth of what happened to Daniel for the sake of our family, our friends and for public information."

"We welcome the filing of a lawsuit in this tragic case, many aspects of which have remained obscure and unresolved," the press freedom organisation said. "The US courts must take up this case quickly in order to shed light on Pearl’s murder and to bring those responsible and their accomplices to justice."

Pearl’s widow filed her suit on July 18th in New York against Al-Qaeda members, Habib Bank of Karachi, which allegedly provided financial services to Al-Qaeda members, and the Al-Rashid Trust.

Those named in the lawsuit include alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held in Guantanamo. He is accused of beheading Pearl in Karachi in January 2002. Also named is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted and sentenced to death by a Pakistani court for kidnapping Pearl.

The suit also targets Fazal Karim, who is being held in Pakistan and who reportedly confessed to the Pakistani authorities that he beat Pearl when he tried to escape from his kidnappers, and held his head when he was decapitated.

The Al-Rashid Trust is an Islamic charity based in Pakistan and Afghanistan that is said to be close to jihadist groups. It did business with Habib Bank. Mariane Pearl believes it provided logistic support to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Al-Qaeda, and that they therefore effectively encouraged the plot against her husband.

The Pakistani government banned the trust this year with the aim of drying up the sources of financing for terrorist networks.

Habib Bank vice-president Zafar Aziz Osman reacted today to the lawsuit, saying: "We have never been involved in any terrorism."

According to the information available to Reporters Without Borders, three other Islamists - Salman Saquib, Fahad Nassem and Sheikh Adil - have been sentenced to death by a Pakistani court in connection with Pearl’s murder.

Five other persons are detained in Pakistan in connection with the Pearl murder but the current state of the proceedings against them is unclear. They include Qari Abdul Hai, Malik Tassadaq and Nadir Khan, all members of the Islamist group Lashkar-Jhangvi, who were arrested on 23 May 2003 and 16 April 2004. Their appeal is still pending.

No information is available about Hashim Qadeer and Mohammed Sohail, who are also suspected of participating in Pearl’s kidnapping and murder but have not yet been tried.




In this country
26 May - Pakistan
Video on plight of Swat valley journalists
26 May - Pakistan
Joint open letter from the IFJ and RSF to the President regarding threats made against journalists
15 May - Pakistan
Emergency funds for journalists who have had to flee Swat valley fighting
12 May - Pakistan
Journalists flee Swat valley en masse
6 May - Pakistan
Media in danger in Swat valley

in the annual report
Pakistan - Annual report 2007
Pakistan - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised