Militant sentenced to death in Pearl case

Press Trust of India

Islamabad, April 19, 2005|21:23 IST

A British-born militant, who was sentenced to death for the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, has claimed that he had met Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden twice in Afghanistan.

"Yes, I have met him (bin Laden) twice in Afghanistan," 31-year-old Sheikh Omar told the English language 'Newsline' magazine in an interview when he was in Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

But, he said, de did not agree with all the methods chosen by bin Laden, and added that he was more committed to the one-eyed Taliban supremo, Mullah Omar, whom he considers "the overall leader of all Mujahideen."

The magazine claimed to have obtained written answers from Omar to questions smuggled into the prison when Omar was there. Omar is presently detained in an isolation ward in Pakistan's Hyderabad Jail.

Omar admitted to "involvement" in the abduction of Pearl, The Wall Street Journal South-Asia bureau chief, but said he "didn't (physically) take part in the actual events (murder of Pearl)," according to the magazine.

Omar, who was arrested in February 2002 and declared a "dangerous prisoner", was sentenced to death by a one-judge Anti-Terrorism Court in July 2002 after he was found guilty in the case relating to the kidnapping of the 38-year-old Pearl and his subsequent murder.