The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pearl video suspect in net

Karachi, March 3 (Agencies): A court in Pakistan today turned over an Islamic militant for police questioning over the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and two failed assassination attempts against President Pervez Musharraf.

The suspect, Mohammed Sohail, was arrested in Karachi yesterday after a shootout with police.

Sohail was wanted in the killing of Pearl, who was kidnapped on January 23, 2002, in Karachi while researching a story on Islamic militancy. Pearl was later beheaded.

A police official said on condition of anonymity yesterday Sohail is believed to have made the grisly video in which Pearl's throat is shown being slit with a knife.

In 2003, a court in Karachi sentenced Sohail to death in absentia for a May 8, 2002, bombing near the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi that left 11 French engineers dead. Two other militants, who are in custody, were also given death sentences in the suicide attack.

Today, the judge in Karachi allowed police to interrogate Sohail for five days, said Mohammed Younas, a police investigator. Judge Mehboob Ali Dhayo ordered that the militant be produced in the court again on March 7.

Sohail, a bearded man in his thirties who wore traditional Pakistani attire, was taken to the court with dozens of armed policemen escorting him. He was handcuffed and his head was covered with a hood when he was being taken to a police pick-up truck after the court hearing.

Younas said Sohail will be questioned over suspicion that he had surveyed the street in Rawalpindi where militants targeted Musharraf with two car bomb attacks within 10 days in December 2003.

An anti-terrorism court sentenced British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to death for his role in the Pearl killing. Three of his associates were given life in prison.

They have filed an appeal in the High Court challenging their convictions. Sohail is a member of Harkat-ul Jihad-e-Islami.

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