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Poland still seeks justice in Pakistani Taliban beheading case

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 02.08.2011 07:18
Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, who was in Islamabad, Monday, said that Poland and Pakistan are to sign legal agreements in the hope of speeding up the investigation into the brutal murder in 2009 of Polish engineer Piotr Stanczak, who was kidnapped and beheaded by Pakistani Taliban.

Radek sikorski (right) with Hina Rabbani Khar; photo - PAP/Leszek SzymanskiRadek

The murderers are still at large and may be in hiding in the lawless tribal territories near the Afghanistan border, say police.

Minister Sikorski underlined yesterday that the legal assistance agreement will better enable Polish and Pakistani prosecution services to exchange information in the investigation

”This will allow for cooperation between the Polish prosecution service and Pakistani authorities in efforts to detain the murderers of Piotr Stanczak, a man who came to Pakistan to help the country. This is one of the focal points of my visit here,” Sikorski told reporters in the Pakaistani capital after his meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Minister Rabbani Khar assured that the Pakistani authorities are doing everything they can to bring the case to a close.

Following her meeting with Radoslaw Sikorski the Pakistani minister said that all possible steps had been taken but the case still lacks sufficient evidence to proceed.

Piotr Stanczak was kidnapped in September 2008 while working as a geologist for a Polish firm in Attock, near the dangerous north-west frontier region of Pakistan. The Taliban said they eventually killed the Pole in February 2009 after Pakistani authorities refused to trade the life of Stanczak for prisoners.

Before the execution, the Taliban released a video of Stanczak pleading with the Polish government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan before he was beheaded.

In February of this year, a court acquitted Abdul Aziz Shah, a former member of parliament, and Attaullah Khan of the kidnap and murder.

“The Pakistani prosecutors will appeal the verdict,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Bosacki said after the aquital. “The two defendants were acquitted due to lack of evidence,” he added.

Pakistani police are currently detaining two men, who it is thought allegedly cooperated with the gang who murdered the Polish geologist. It is thought that the leader of the group who executed the Pole is Tarik Afridi, who is hiding in the north-west mountain region which is out of Islamabad's control.

Shaukat Piracha , a journalist at the Pakistani AAJ TV station who is following the case, told Polish Radio that detaining the perpetrators who are in hiding in regions not under state control is very difficult.

Minister Sikorski went on today to Kabul, Afghanistan for meetings with government officials. Poland has around 2,500 troops in the country. (pg/ab)

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