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Key Suspect Indicted in Pearl’s Death

Suspected Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Saeed is charged with hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, which resulted in Pearl’s death. If convicted, Saeed could face the death penalty.

The indictment alleges that Saaed sent a series of e-mails to Daniel Pearl between January 19 and January 23, 2002 using the alias Chaudrey Bashir. Pearl was reportedly tracking down leads on a story about Islamic fundamentalism when he was kidnapped in January.

The indictment was brought up in Trenton, N.J. because the e-mail server, which routed Saeed’s correspondence to Daniel Pearl, is located in nearby South Brunswick.

According to the text of the indictment, Saeed and others “did knowingly and willfully seize, detain and threaten to kill, injure and continue to detain Daniel Pearl, a United States national, in order to compel the United States government to do and abstain from doing certain acts.”

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft added that Saeed, working with others, “methodically set a death trap for Daniel Pearl, lured him into it with lies and savagely ended his life.

“The story he died trying to tell will be told, and justice will be done,” the attorney general added.

An earlier indictment was also unveiled Thursday. It charged Saeed with conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, hostage-taking and aiding and abetting in connection with a 1994 kidnapping of Bela Nuss in India.

Saeed is currently in custody in Pakistan, where authorities are seeking to prosecute him for Pearl’s murder.

In Pakistan, a man turned himself over to local authorities after admitting he had committed the murder. It was later confirmed that the confession was a hoax.

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