Kidnappers threaten to kill daniel pearl
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Thursday January 31, 04:09 AM
Kidnappers threaten to kill U.S.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The
group that claims it has kidnapped a
Wall Street Journal reporter in
Pakistan has sent an e-mail to news
organisations threatening to kill him
within 24 hours unless the U.S.
government releases Pakistani
prisoners held in the Afghan war.
The e-mail, sent to The Wall Street Journal, CNN and The
New York Times, among others, accused correspondent
Daniel Pearl of being a spy for Israel. It also warned other
U.S. journalists in Pakistan to leave the country within three
"We talked to Daniel Pearl and we learned that he is not a
CIA officer but is the agent of Mossad (Israeli intelligence),"
said the statement, which was obtained and translated from
Urdu by Reuters. "So for this reason we are giving a warning
that if America in 24 hours does not meet our demands, we
will kill Daniel Pearl."
It was not immediately clear when the 24-hour deadline
would lapse. An earlier e-mail identified the previously unknown group as "The
National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty."
Wednesday's e-mail was accompanied by photographs, including one of Pearl sitting
on the floor with a pistol held toward his bowed head and another of him facing the
camera with his wrists bound together by a thick chain.
The Wall Street Journal denied the claim the 38-year-old Pearl was a spy for Israel,
as it has the one made in a previous e-mail that he was spying for the U.S.
"We have seen the latest communication from the people claiming to hold Danny
Pearl," the newspaper said in a statement. "Mr. Pearl, a U.S. citizen born in the U.S.
and a working journalist all of his adult life, is not an agent of any government or
agency. He is a reporter for us -- nothing more or less. He cannot affect the policy of
the U.S. or Pakistani government. Nor can we."
Pakistan had been one of the Taliban's closest allies but supported the U.S.
campaign to oust the hard-line Afghan rulers as a punishment for protecting Osama
bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks on America.
Many Pakistanis disagreed with the government and entered the neighbouring nation
to aid the Taliban and bin Laden's al Qaeda forces.
APPEAL FOR DIALOGUE
In an interview with CNN, Marianne Pearl said she and her husband went to
Pakistan because "we wanted to know more about the people and write about their
views. We keep working on that same idea of how are we going to create a dialogue
because we know the world is not easy.
"I am pregnant. I am going to have a baby. We are trying at our level to create a
better world," said Marianne Pearl, who is also a journalist. "It sounds like big words
but that's our life. ... I love Pakistan."
Pearl was working on a story about alleged shoe-bomber Richard Reid, who is
being detained in the United States ahead of trial on charges he tried to blow up an
Reid allegedly travelled to Pakistan shortly before being caught on a plane in
December while trying to detonate his explosive-laden sneakers.
Usually the Pearls conduct interviews together but Marianne told CNN the night
Daniel was kidnapped she felt sick and had stayed behind.
In the Pakistan capital Islamabad, police said they had detained the leader of a
radical Islamic group in connection with the kidnapping of Pearl, who went missing in
the southern city of Karachi a week ago. Police said they arrested Mubarak Ali
Gilani, leader of Jamaat al-Fuqra and considered him a prime suspect in the case.
Investigators have said Pearl, who is based in Bombay, India, met Gilani before he
disappeared and police have detained and questioned a number of people close to
the religious leader and al-Fuqra.
WARNING TO U.S. JOURNALISTS
The latest e-mail also called on U.S. journalists to leave Pakistan.
"The American journalists who are working in Pakistan, many of them in the disguise
of journalists, are really spies. For this reason we are warning American journalists
that they leave Pakistan in three days or else they will also be targets," the e-mail
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists repeated its call for Pearl's
"His kidnappers have gained absolutely nothing by holding him hostage," CPJ
executive director Ann Cooper said in a statement. "They will gain absolutely nothing
by threatening to kill him. They will also gain nothing by threatening other journalists
working in Pakistan."
A number of Pakistani and U.S. media organisations received an e-mail on Sunday
saying Pearl had been kidnapped. It said Pearl, who it claimed worked for the CIA,
was being kept in "inhumane" conditions to protest against the treatment of Taliban
and al Qaeda prisoners held at a U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Wednesday's e-mail alluded to the Bush administration's decision to authorise secret
military tribunals for some detainees and complained captives taken by the United
States were not given a chance to prove their innocence.
The e-mail also said if the captors killed Pearl, they would then send food to his
family to mimic the gesture of the U.S. military, which dropped food parcels over
Afghanistan while it bombed the country.
Marianne Pearl said she hasn't slept for six days, but she remained hopeful her
husband would be released. "I'm not desperate. If I stop believing in creating this
dialogue, then I'd have to stop believing in everything else, so I can't do that. I'm
Asked what she would say to her husband if she could speak to him now, she smiled
and said, "I love you."