Mariane Pearl sues al Qaeda over husband's killing

(Gold9472: Such a Reuter's write-up.)


NEW YORK (Reuters) - The widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against al Qaeda, other radical groups and Pakistan-based Habib Bank Ltd over the 2002 abduction, torture and murder of her husband.

Mariane Pearl, whose story is told in the recently released movie "A Mighty Heart" starring Angelina Jolie, filed the suit at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, according to her lawyers.

"Plaintiffs seek to hold responsible those terrorists, terrorist organizations and the supporting charitable and banking organizations for the senseless kidnapping, torture and murder of Daniel Pearl," the suit said.

It seeks an unspecified amount of money, whatever the court "deems appropriate", to prevent the defendants from committing similar acts.

Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief of the Journal when he was kidnapped in Karachi in January 2002 while seeking an interview with suspected Islamist militants. After several days in captivity he was beheaded on video.

Among those sued is Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, or Sheikh Omar, who was convicted and sentenced to death in a Pakistani court for his role in the abduction and murder. Three others were jailed for life.

Another defendant is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a suspected high-ranking al Qaeda leader and September 11 mastermind who is in U.S. custody. Mohammed admitted to a U.S. military tribunal that he beheaded Pearl, the U.S. military said.

Habib Bank Limited is one of Pakistan's biggest banks. The lawsuit alleges the bank and its subsidiaries knowingly conducted financial transactions on behalf of charities linked to extremist groups.

"In doing so Habib and its subsidiaries aided, abetted and provided material support in the form of financial services for the terrorist support organizations," the suit said.

Habib Bank could not be immediately reached for comment.