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Context of 'March 7, 2002: Pakistani President Musharraf Says He Wants Saeed Sheikh Hanged'

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Saeed Sheikh may be recruited by the British intelligence service MI6, according to a claim made in a book published in 2006 by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. According to Musharraf, Saeed Sheikh, who will be involved in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl (see January 23, 2002) and will be said to wire money to the 9/11 hijackers (see Early August 2001), may be recruited by MI6 while studying in London, and when he goes to Bosnia to support the Muslim cause there, this may be at MI6’s behest (see April 1993). Musharraf will further speculate, “At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent.” (McGrory 9/26/2006) The London Times will provide some support for this theory, suggesting that Saeed will later have dealings with British intelligence (see 1999).

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf says Saeed Sheikh, chief suspect in the killing of reporter Daniel Pearl, will not be extradited to the US, at least not until after he is tried by Pakistan. (Gibson 3/15/2002) The US ambassador later reports to Washington that Musharraf privately said, “I’d rather hang him myself” than extradite Saeed. (Hoagland 3/28/2002) Musharraf even brazenly states, “Perhaps Daniel Pearl was over-intrusive. A media person should be aware of the dangers of getting into dangerous areas. Unfortunately, he got over-involved.” (Reddy 3/8/2002) He also says Pearl was caught up in “intelligence games.” (Vick and Khan 5/3/2002) In early April, Musharraf apparently says he wants to see Saeed sentenced to death. Defense lawyers are appalled, saying Musharraf is effectively telling the courts what to do. (BBC 4/12/2002) The Washington Post reports in early March that Pakistani “police alternately fabricate and destroy evidence, depending on pressure from above” (Hoodbhoy 3/10/2002) , and in fact Saeed’s trial will be plagued with problems.

After learning that a new book published by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (see September 25, 2006) says that alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) either killed American reporter Daniel Pearl or played a leading role in the murder (see January 31, 2002), the lawyer for Saeed Sheikh, one of the kidnappers, says he plans to use the book in an appeal. Sheikh was found guilty of the kidnapping (see April 5, 2002), but the lawyer, Rai Bashir, says, “I’m going to submit an application that [Musharraf’s] book be used as a piece of evidence. The head of state has exonerated [Sheikh and his accomplices].” (Montero 11/8/2006) Bashir will also make similar comments after KSM says that he carried out the murder in early 2007 (see March 10, 2007): “In the next court hearing, I am going to submit the recent statement by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in which he said he himself beheaded the US journalist… From day one, my contention was that the evidence presented in court was not strong enough to lead to the conviction of my client.” (Tran 3/19/2007) Sheikh was convicted in July 2002 (see July 15, 2002). As of late July 2005, the appeal proceedings had been adjourned thirty-two times. (Masood 7/29/2005) As of 2007, his appeal process is still in limbo.


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