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Suspect in Pakistan Massacre Is Released

October 24, 2002|From Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan — A man who survived a massacre at a Christian charity and was tagged a suspect has been freed but remains under surveillance, police said Wednesday.

Robin Peeranditta, an office assistant at the Institute of Peace and Justice, was officially arrested Tuesday but released later the same evening, said a senior police official. Peeranditta has not been charged.

"He will remain under observation for some days to check who is coming to meet him," the Pakistani official said on condition of anonymity.

Peeranditta had been in police detention since eight of his colleagues were shot execution-style Sept. 25. Seven died, and the eighth lies in a coma in the hospital. Peeranditta was apparently beaten up but not shot.

Police have had questions about Peeranditta's role from the beginning, after he gave conflicting accounts of the killings. He initially told police that two men were involved, then changed that to four, and finally settled on three attackers.

The massacre had been just one of a long list of violent attacks against Christians and Westerners since Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf allied his country with Washington in the war against terrorism and cracked down on Islamic extremist groups.

Pakistan contends there is no evidence Islamic militants were involved in the office killings, instead strongly hinting that neighboring India, particularly its spy agency, was responsible.

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