US Reporter Kidnapped In
Pakistan Killed On VideoTape

KARACHI (Reuters) - Kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl has been executed by his captors in what Pakistan's president on Friday called a gruesome murder videotaped by his abductors.
The Washington Post said Pearl, abducted in Karachi on January 23, had his throat slit with a knife in a tape that was sent to Pakistan and U.S. authorities.
President Bush called the killing a "criminal, barbaric" act and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf ordered an immediate nationwide roundup of suspects with any possible ties to Islamic militant groups linked to the kidnapping.
Pearl, 38, disappeared in Karachi as he tried to make contact with Islamic radical groups and investigate possible links between alleged shoe bomber Richard Reid and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
The group that had claimed to hold Pearl, calling itself The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, accused him of being a spy -- first for the CIA, then for Israeli intelligence -- and said it was protesting U.S. treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners.
Pearl's family said it was a "senseless murder" that had silenced "a gentle soul."
A statement issued by local authorities in Pakistan said a videotape received by Pakistani and U.S. officials showed scenes of Pearl's murder.
"The recorded videotape contained scenes showing Daniel Pearl in captivity and scenes of his murder by the kidnappers," it said.
One U.S. official in Washington called the tape "very gruesome." He provided no details.
The Washington Post, citing a source close to the investigation, reported the tape showed Pearl speaking, as if he were conducting an interview, when suddenly an assailant grabbed him and slit his throat.
Pearl's body has not been found and it is unclear when he was executed.
Lonnie Kelley, U.S. Public Affairs officer at the U.S. consulate in Karachi, said "both Pakistan and U.S. investigators have identified the perpetrators behind the crime."
"Pearl's murder is outrageous and the United States is determined to bring the perpetrators to justice," Kelley told Reuters.
"We are heartbroken," Wall Street Journal Publisher Peter Kann and Managing Editor Paul Steiger said in a statement.
"His murder is an act of barbarism that makes a mockery of everything Danny's kidnappers claimed to believe in," they said. "Their actions must surely bring shame to all true Pakistani patriots."
Pearl's family called him "a beloved son, a brother, an uncle, a husband and a father to a child who will never know him." Pearl's wife Mariane, who was with him in Karachi, is more than six months pregnant with their first child, a son.
In Beijing, President Bush said he was deeply saddened by Pearl's death, saying the killing would only hurt the cause of his captors.
"All Americans are sad and angry to learn of the murder," Bush told reporters in Beijing, where he is on the final day of a six-day trip to Asia.
"Those who would threaten Americans, those who would engage in criminal, barbaric acts, need to know that these crimes only hurt their cause and only deepen the resolve of the United States of America to rid the world of these agents of terror."
In Islamabad, Pakistan President Musharraf vowed every member of the kidnap gang would be hunted down.
"General Musharraf has directed the government of Sindh (the province where Pearl was kidnapped) and other national security agencies to apprehend each and every member of the gang of terrorists linked to this gruesome murder," a statement by the president's office said.
Pearl, the Journal's South Asian bureau chief based in Bombay, India, for the past two years, had been working in Karachi for three weeks when he was kidnapped.
Friends said Pearl was smart, sweet, soft-spoken, self-effacing and unlikely to take unreasonable risks. He also was a talented fiddler, guitarist and classical violinist. One of three children, Pearl's father was an academic and his mother a computer consultant.
Pearl's family said in their statement that "up until a few hours ago we were confident that Danny would return safely, for we believed no human being would be capable of harming such a gentle soul."
Outside the temporary newsroom in New York of The Wall Street Journal, which was displaced after the September 11 attacks near its downtown offices, Journal reporters said they had been asked by management not to talk about Pearl.
One unidentified reporter said people inside the newsroom were extremely upset. Another called Pearl's death "a despicable act."
"He was just a regular guy doing his job. He wouldn't hurt a fly. It's just disgusting," the reporter said.
Pearl, a Princeton, New Jersey, native, grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and graduated from Stanford University.
He began his career at small newspapers in Massachusetts before becoming a business reporter at the Pulitzer Prize-winning Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in the 1980s. He joined the Journal in 1990, working in Atlanta, Washington, London and Paris before moving to India.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan saluted the courage of Pearl and other journalists around the world. "The crime highlights the enormous dangers encountered by journalists, particularly in areas of conflict and violence," Annan said through his spokesman, Fred Eckhard.
In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists called Pearl's death "brutal, wanton, and senseless."
Earlier on Thursday, Fahad Naseem, one of three men accused of involvement in the kidnapping said Pearl was abducted because he was a Jew working against Islam, his lawyer said.
Pakistan police in early February arrested Naseem and two other suspects for sending e-mails to media organizations that showed Pearl in captivity.
The Journal is owned by publisher Dow Jones & Co.

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