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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid