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Pakistani Court Replaces Judge in the Pearl Case

April 20, 2002|From Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan — A Pakistani court replaced the judge in the case of slain U.S. reporter Daniel Pearl on Friday, just days before the four defendants were to enter pleas, attorneys said.

The lawyer for the chief defendant, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, had asked that Judge Arshad Noor Khan be removed because he was present during a Feb. 14 hearing at which the British-born Islamic militant admitted his role in the kidnapping. Sheikh later recanted, and his lawyers argued that allowing Khan to preside would be prejudicial to the defense.

The High Court of Sindh province appointed a new judge, Abdul Ghafoor Memon.

Chief prosecutor Raja Qureshi did not challenge the defense request and said he did not expect the change to delay the proceedings. Sheikh and his three co-defendants are expected to enter pleas Monday, Qureshi said. Seven defendants remain at large.

A videotape confirmed Pearl's death, after his Jan. 23 disappearance in Karachi, Pakistan.

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