KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) -- The alleged mastermind of the kidnapping of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and 10 accomplices were charged in his death Friday in a special anti-terrorism court.
Chief prosecutor Raja Quereshi presented the charges amid unprecedented security, with at least 100 armed police ringing the courthouse. Raja also submitted a list of 31 prosecution witnesses to a judge whose courtroom was closed to the public and press.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other Islamic militants are accused in the indictment of murder, kidnapping and terrorism in Pearl's death. Seven others, who remain at large, also were accused in the prosecutor's indictment on the same charges.
The court was scheduled to convene again March 29, at which time a judge will decide whether there's enough evidence to accept the charges. Once that step is taken, the trial would begin immediately.
Saeed and co-defendant Sheikh Mohammed Adeel were brought to court in an armored car that was escorted by two dozen police vans mounted with machine guns. The other two suspects in custody, Fahad Naseem and Salman Saqib, were not present since they had already appeared before a judge and were remanded to jail.
Saeed, a British-educated Islamic militant, is the key suspect in the Jan. 23 kidnapping in the southern port city of Karachi.
He confessed in court last month that he abducted Pearl, but has since withdrawn the statement, which was not made under oath and is considered inadmissible. Saeed has said he wants to act as his own attorney.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.