MULTAN, Pakistan – An Islamic militant suspected in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal (search) reporter Daniel Pearl (search) was brought before a judge Monday and informed he had been sentenced to death for the killings of six minority Shiite Muslims (search).
Qari Abdul Hai, the alleged leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group, was convicted in absentia for those crimes in 1998. Hai was brought to the court Monday in Dera Ghazi Khan, about 60 miles west of Multan, with a sheet over his head and his hands handcuffed.
Multan police official Awais Malik said the judge asked Hai to verify his identity and then informed him of the death sentence for his role in a 1994 shooting at a Shiite mosque in which six people were killed. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is blamed for involvement in the killing of hundreds of Shiite Muslims.
Hai is also suspected of helping plan the kidnapping of Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, but has not yet been charged in that case.
Death sentences are carried out by hanging in Pakistan and Hai can appeal his conviction.
Hai, who had been on the run since the attack, was arrested on Thursday in Muzaffargarh, near Multan, as he tried to board a bus for the southern city of Karachi.
Four Islamic militants were convicted last year of involvement in the kidnap-slaying of Pearl. One defendant, British-born Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was sentenced to death, and the other three were given life sentences. All four have filed appeals.