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Video apparently shows beheading

February 09, 2009|Associated Press

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, PAKISTAN — A video delivered to the Associated Press on Sunday appears to show the execution of a Polish engineer by Pakistani militants who had held him captive for more than four months.

The seven-minute video appears to show the Polish hostage, Piotr Stanczak, sitting on the floor flanked by two masked men. Off camera, a militant briefly engages him in conversation before three others behead him. One of the men then addresses the camera, blaming Pakistan for the execution because it did not agree to their demands to release Taliban prisoners.

If confirmed, Stanczak's death would appear to be the first killing of a Western hostage in Pakistan since U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl was beheaded in 2002.

The video was given to an Associated Press reporter in northwest Pakistan on a flash drive by an intermediary who said he obtained it from the Taliban. The Associated Press has elected not to distribute images from the execution itself. It was unclear whether it was given to other media outlets.

Pakistan Interior Ministry spokesman Shahidullah Baig said the government had "heard about" the existence of the video and was investigating.

Piotr Adamkiewicz, a spokesman at the Polish Embassy in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, said the mission had seen some images from the video. He said it appeared to show the Polish hostage being killed.

"We are thinking that this is [Stanczak], but we have to wait to receive the full tape," he said.

A spokesman for the Taliban in northwest Pakistan said Saturday that militants killed Stanczak because the government missed a deadline to release 26 prisoners.

Armed men pulled Stanczak from his car Sept. 28 after killing three Pakistanis traveling with him near the city of Attock in northwest Pakistan, a lawless region believed to be a possible hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.

Stanczak was surveying oil and gas fields for Geofizyka Krakow, a Polish geophysics institute.

It said it suspended its work after the abduction.

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