News / Asia

Report Faults Pakistan in Daniel Pearl Murder Investigation

In this March 29, 2002 file photo, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction, leaves the provincial high court in Karachi, Pakistan, under tight security
In this March 29, 2002 file photo, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl's abduction, leaves the provincial high court in Karachi, Pakistan, under tight security

A new report says only a small number of militants involved in the kidnapping and beheading of The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan have been brought to justice and those imprisoned for the murder were not present when he was killed.  

The report, called "The Truth Left Behind: Inside the Kidnapping and Murder of Daniel Pearl", is the result of an investigation carried out by a team of American journalists and students spanning the last several years.

Asra Nomani, a former colleague and close friend of Pearl’s at The Wall Street Journal, launched the investigation with the help of dozens of students from Georgetown University.

"The Truth Left Behind" chronicles the issues of extremism, militancy and terrorism in Pakistan. 

"What we learn is that there were actually 27 people involved in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, but only four have actually been convicted in Pakistani courts.  Of the 27, 14 remain free," said Nomani.

The release of the report on Thursday raises troubling questions about Pakistan’s criminal justice system.

It says the four men convicted of killing Pearl did participate in the kidnapping of the American journalist, but it says prosecutors in their haste to close the case knowingly used false testimony during the trial.

The investigation also says forensic evidence boosts the confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, as personally beheading Pearl.

The co-author of the report, Barbara Feinman Todd, is the Journalism Director at Georgetown University.

"One very important thing is that justice has not been served really.  You know only four men have been convicted of this crime and we believe that none of the four men was actually there at the time of the murder.  So while they were involved and are culpable, they were not actually there and they did not commit the murder so we want justice to be served.  We want people to know the truth," she said.

Pearl was abducted in the southern port city of Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story on Islamist militancy.  In February of that year a video documenting Pearl’s murder was delivered to U.S. officials in Karachi.  His remains were found in a shallow grave several months later.

Asra Nomani says she hopes the Pakistani and U.S. governments will take another look at Pearl’s case and that everyone will draw lessons from the information contained in the report.

"So that we can understand what the problem is, in reality, on the streets of Pakistan," she said. "We can understand the limitations of rule of law, we can understand the reach of militancy and we can understand the threat of terrorism.  It is really important to stop the culture of denial that has really defined a lot of the issues in the region and talk honestly about the problems.  I think at a minimum that is what we can do for a journalist who lost his life in the pursuit of truth."

Nomani says the Pearl Project was necessary to send a clear message to those who would intentionally harm reporters.

"You know there was a time when journalists were not as targeted as they are today, but the truth is that we as a community have to stand up and not allow people to have impunity when it comes to their targeting of journalists.  We could not save Danny, but we had to fight to get the truth that was left behind.  I hope that we send a really clear message to anybody that targets journalists that we will not rest until the complete truth is found out about who is targeting them and who killed them," said Nomani.

Nomani says the investigation grew from a murder case to a study of militancy, Islamic extremism and terrorism in Pakistan.

She says the case of Daniel Pearl was a harbinger of the issues U.S. national security officials are still struggling with today.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid