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CNN BREAKING NEWS

New Statement Released from Marianne Pearl

Aired February 14, 2002 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is not a happy Valentine's Day for Marianne Pearl, the wife of Danny Pearl, the kidnapped journalist who has been missing since January 23rd.

And, in fact, we've just gotten in as breaking news.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: This is literally just coming in to us now.

KAGAN: Yes, I mean, this is heart breaking to read, especially on Valentine's Day, but a bigger problem than just Valentine's Day for this family here. This is Marianne Pearl, and she is the wife, as I said, of Danny Pearl.

And "The Wall Street" has just released a letter that Marianne Pearl has written to the kidnappers of Danny Pearl, so we're just going to go ahead and read it to you in its entirety.

HARRIS: Bear with us folks, like I said, we are just getting this. This is the first time we've read through this as well, so here we go. "This is from Marianne Pearl here. To the people holding my husband Danny Pearl. It has been more than three weeks since my husband Danny Pearl disappeared while reporting an article for "The Wall Street Journal" in Karachi, Pakistan.

I want to appeal again to you to please release him, or at least let me know how he is doing."

KAGAN: And then she goes on. "As you know, Danny is an innocent man, a journalist who has come to you as a guest with an open mind and the sole objective of writing about your views for a global audience. He has never harmed anybody. Instead he has been quite sympathetic to the pain caused to others. Danny and I are both gentle, peace-loving people. This is the frame of mind in which by came to Pakistan. It has allowed us to befriend so many Pakistanis who have upheld the rich tradition of the culture of honoring and respecting guests."

HARRIS: Now, she goes on to say again here, "As I do not have any news about Danny's health and well-being, this has been a very difficult time for me. As you know, I am six months pregnant. Danny and I learned just two days before his disappearance that we would be bringing a boy into the world. I'm sure you can understand the difficult effects this struggle might have on a perfectly innocent unborn child. Our child is a living soul. "Nasawalu (ph)" -- which I assume that is Pakistani -- "since his father's disappearance, he is now breathing into his being the worry and apprehension I have about my husband's well-being. My husband and I are looking forward to creating a family that will help make this world a better place through better dialogue and understanding between civilizations.

KAGAN: And then she says, "From the bottom of my heart, I appeal to you, please release Danny and enable us to continue carrying out the path we have chosen to pursue. I have faith you will trust the sincerity of my message to you as a wife, and as an expectant mother, and that you will let him go free to join me."

Signed "Marianne Pearl."

HARRIS: Heart breaking.

KAGAN: And also the first time we learn in this letter that they are expecting a boy.

HARRIS: Yes, we knew she was expecting a child, but we didn't know that, boy.

KAGAN: Six months pregnant.

Our Ben Wedeman has been covering this story for us and he joins us now from Karachi -- Ben.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Daryn, a very difficult day for Marianne Pearl, made worse by the fact that when the chief suspect in the kidnapping of her husband appeared before an antiterrorism court, he made a statement. He said, "As far as I know, Pearl is dead." Now, that's just what he said. That's not what he thinks,or believes or knows as far, as we know, but those were just the words oust his mouth. Of course this directly contradicts a statement he made shortly after he was detained on Tuesday, then he said, Pearl is alive and is in Karachi.

Now, at this point, the Pakistani officials say they don't have much faith in Saeed's pronouncements, and they will carry on the search for Daniel Pearl.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AZIZ AHMED KHAN, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER SPOKESMAN: He has been changing them from day-to-day, and we cannot give any credence to any of these statements that he gives. As far as it is concerned, agencies are concerned, the government of Pakistan is utilizing all means possible to resolve this case as quickly as possible, and we hope that it will be resolved soon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEDEMAN: Now, the inspector general for the Sind (ph) province Kamal Shan (ph), for the Sind province of Karachi, just held a press conference a little while ago here. There he said, that they will not believe anything Saeed has to say, unless there is evidence to the contrary. He says at this point, that there is no evidence in the possession of the police or the authorities here that Daniel Pearl is dead, and therefore, in his words, "We still believe is he alive." He said that the police are satisfied with the pace of the investigation. He said that Saeed is a clever, sharp, intelligent man capable, and I might add here, obviously somewhat successful at misleading and misguiding the investigation.

Now, a spokesman for "The Wall Street Journal" responding to Sheikh Omar Saeed's statements in court said that we continue to be hopeful. We remain confident that Danny is still alive.

Now, back to Saeed. When he appeared in court, speaking in fluent English, he admitted to involvement in the kidnapping. He said that "Right or wrong, I had my reasons. I think our country should not be catering to America's needs."

Now, he will reappear in the court, in this antiterrorism court, on the 25th of February, where he will be formally charged in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Ben, I want to get back to this very personal e-mail we just read about Marianne Pearl, when she talks about being pregnant, and the love for her husband, and that we learn for the first time she and Danny Pearl are expecting a little boy. Earlier the kidnappers acknowledge that they know the Pearl family is going through a difficult time, and they almost mock the pain. They say, if you want it talk about pain, look at what has happened in Pakistan, look at what's happened in Afghanistan. I'm just wondering how much effect something like this would have at that audience.

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly on ordinary Pakistanis, there is a lot of compassion, sympathy and understanding for the obvious painful ordeal that Marianne Pearl is going through. The problem is, how much impact is it going to have on the kidnappers? And I hate to say it, so far, there is no indication that these people are in any way sympathetic, understanding or compassionate. They've been holding Marianne Pearl's husband now for over three weeks. They haven't communicated since the 30th of January. Obviously, Mrs. Pearl is in a great deal of distress, far more distress than we saw when we met her. And therefore, I seriously doubt that the kidnappers have really much sympathy at all at this point -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Ben Wedeman in Karachi. Ben, thank you for the latest.

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