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E-mail plea for kidnapped reporter

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The managing editor of the Wall Street Journal has appealed via e-mail for the release of one their reporters abducted in Pakistan.

The e-mail asked for 38-year-old Daniel Pearl to be released by abductors believed to have taken him hostage after arranging a clandestine interview.

"My name is Paul Steiger and I am Danny Pearl's boss at the Wall Street Journal. I would like to work with you to bring about Danny's safe release," Steiger said in the text of the e-mail that appeared Tuesday in the online edition of the Journal, but was transmitted Monday.

Steiger sent his six-paragraph message to an e-mail address used by the kidnappers to forward four photos of Pearl to three news organizations.

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In the e-mails, the group identified itself as "the national movement for the restoration of Pakistani sovereignty" and accused Pearl of being a CIA officer, a claim denied by both the newspaper and the CIA.

In the e-mail, Steiger again rejected the kidnappers' assertion.

"Danny is a professional journalist and has been for more than eleven years. He is well known internationally as a reporter," Steiger said. "Currently, he is in Pakistan to provide objective coverage of ongoing events. He has never worked for the CIA or the U.S. Government in any capacity."

While Pakistani police say they have received no demands, the group said Pearl was being held in retaliation for the detainment by the FBI of Pakistani prisoners at the U.S. Naval Station in Cuba.

"If the America wants the release of Mr. Pearl, all Pakistanis being illegally detained by the FBI inside America merely on suspicion must be given access to lawyers and allowed seeing (sic) their family members," read the e-mail, a copy of which CNN obtained Monday from The Washington Post.

"The Pakistani prisoners in Cuba must be returned to Pakistan and they will be tried in a Pakistani Court."

Pearl has been missing since last Wednesday evening, when he left his Karachi quarters to conduct an interview with an important source, said Journal spokesman Steven Goldstein. He did not check in that evening and has not been heard from since.

Goldstein said all of the newspaper's international correspondents who work in "dangerous areas" are required to check in with the newspaper every evening.

The release of the text of Steigers' e-mail came as Pakistani authorities embarked on a manhunt to find Pearl.

Father-to-be

Police are operating under the assumption Pearl went missing in Karachi.

Karachi police have met with officials in Lahore, and special officers have been deployed in the country's capital, Islamabad, to track down anybody who had recent contact with Pearl.

Pearl's wife, a French citizen and also a journalist, is six months pregnant with the couple's first child.

"I would like you to know that she is greatly distressed over Danny's situation," Steiger said. "She hopes that you will come to understand that keeping Danny will not alter U.S. Government policy or accomplish your goals."

In closing, Steiger said: "I look forward to hearing from you further on this matter so that we can coordinate Danny's safe and timely release."



 
 
 
 



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