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Pearl's wife sues Pakistani bank, Al-Qaeda

world Updated: Jul 19, 2007 11:14 IST

AFP
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The widow of murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against 23 individuals and organisations over the abduction and murder of her husband in 2002.

The lawsuit notably names Al-Qaeda, alleged Al-Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- who claimed responsibility for beheading Pearl and is now in US custody -- and Pakistan's Habib Bank among the defendants.

"I am looking for the truth of what happened to Daniel, for our family, our friends, and the public record," Mariane Pearl said in a statement.

"This process allows us to delve deeper into the investigation, and to bring accountability and punishment to those involved with his kidnapping, torture and murder," she said.

Pearl worked as the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal when he was taken hostage in early 2002. A videotape showing his beheading was later distributed on the Internet.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violating laws including the Anti-Terrorism Act and Torture Victim Protection Act.

It says they were involved in Pearl's abduction and killing by providing financial or logistical support in the form of training, shelter, weapons, transportation, food, communications, equipment or financial services.

The complaint names extremist groups Harakat ul-Mujahedeen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Al-Qaeda as being implicated and accuses Islamic charities Al Rashid Trust and Al Akhtar Trust International of financing the defendants through accounts held at Habib Bank.

Among other defendants named in the 49-page complaint are Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, accused of abducting Pearl, and the heirs of Saud Memon, who owned the property where Pearl's dismembered body was found. Memon died this year.

Another named defendant is Fazal Karim, who, according to the complaint, told Pakistani authorities he beat Pearl after the reporter tried to escape and helped hold Pearl while his throat was cut.

"This action seeks to expose and hold accountable the perpetrators and financiers of Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and death," Pearl's lawyer, Michael Elsner, said in the statement.