Body of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl returned to United States

Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The body of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, recovered from a shallow grave where it was abandoned after his slaying by Islamic militants, was returned to his family for a proper burial.

The body was flown from Pakistan Thursday on a Cathay Pacific flight to Los Angeles International Airport, said James Lee, a spokesman for Pearl's parents, who live in a suburb of the city.

The plane, which had stopped in Hong Kong, taxied to an isolated gate where media access was restricted. Passengers were bused to the international terminal, where they went through customs.

The family plans a private funeral service in the next week. Lee declined further comment, citing the family's desire for privacy.

Pearl's body, in an oak casket covered with red flowers, was transferred Wednesday by police convoy from a mortuary at the Edhi Foundation, a Pakistani relief organization, according to foundation official Rezwan Edhi.

Pearl, 38, was kidnapped Jan. 23 in Karachi while working on a story about links between Pakistani Islamic extremists and Richard C. Reid, who was arrested in December after he allegedly tried to light explosives in his shoes while on a flight from Paris to Miami.

A few days later, e-mails announcing the kidnapping were received by Western and Pakistani news organizations from the previously unknown National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty.

In February, a videotape given to American diplomats in Karachi confirmed Pearl was dead. A body found in May in a shallow grave in Karachi was later identified through DNA tests as Pearl's.

Last month, four men, including British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, were convicted of the kidnapping and slaying. Saeed was sentenced to death by hanging and the others received life sentences. All have filed appeals, and seven others are being sought in the case.