3 Pakistanis quizzed a second time
Posted by Dresonic on March 25, 2007
Police say they found inconsistencies in initial statements
Jamaican police probing the murder of Bob Woolmer yesterday said that three senior members of the Pakistan cricket delegation were questioned a second time after minor inconsistencies showed up in their initial statements.
The three – team manager Talat Ali, assistant coach Mushtaq Ahmed, and captain Inzamam-ul-Haq – were interrogated in Montego Bay yesterday afternoon, a few hours before they boarded a flight to London.
At a press conference called at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, where Woolmer was killed a week ago, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields said the interrogation was standard procedure and didn’t mean any of the three were suspects in the murder.
“This is a serious murder investigation, we have to plug all leaks,” Shields said.
The revelation threw cold water on reports that circulated earlier in the day that two Pakistani cricketers had been detained by local police in connection with the murder of the Pakistan team coach.
Even though the Pakistan team and officials have been allowed to leave the island, it does not mean that they have been ruled out as possible murder suspects, Shields said.
“There is no extradition treaty between Jamaica and Pakistan, but we trust that the Pakistan Government will co-operate on this issue,” Shields told the Sunday Observer minutes after the press conference.
|Pakistani diplomat Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri (right) and Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields leave a news conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday. (Photo: Karl McLarty)|
Pakistani diplomats, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri and Said Ahmed, who flew into the island yesterday morning, are here to assist the Jamaican Government with their investigations into the high-profile murder, which has attracted the attention of media houses around the globe.
The two join team trainer Murray Stevenson, and Pakistan Cricket Board operations manager Asad Mustafa, who will stay in the island until a coroner’s inquest is completed and Woolmer’s body is released to his family.
“No one has been named as a suspect, so we will cross that bridge when we reach it,” Chaudhri said when asked if his government would be willing to send back any suspects named by the local cops.
“We are pleased with the Jamaican police and the co-operation of the Jamaican Government,” Chaudhri said.” Since we have been here we have been fully appraised of the situation involving Mr Woolmer’s death.”
Despite the absence of an extradition treaty, the Pakistan Government has, in the past, sent back Pakistani youth cricketer, Zeeshan Pervez, who was accused of raping an American resident inside a room at the Sutton Place Hotel in Kingston in August 1996. Pervez was eventually acquitted of the charges.
Also in the island is chief investigator of the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit, Jeff Rees. Allegations that match fixing is behind the killing of the cricketing icon have abounded since news of Woolmer’s demise broke last Sunday.
Shields said while the police were taking the allegations seriously, it was not the only area they were probing.
Minutes before the Pakistan delegation boarded their plane, team media manager Pervez Mir said the incident had taken a severe toll on the team.
“There is lots of anxiety and lots of pressure had built up in the side, but they are dealing well with the tragedy,” Mir said as the team disembarked from a bus at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James.
None of the Pakistan team members were made available for comment.
Homicide investigators have not yet handed over the ill-fated room 375 on the 12th floor of the hotel and yesterday Shields informed reporters that a review of closed circuit TV footage from the hotel’s 12th floor was not yet complete.
He also said results of tests conducted on fluid and tissue samples taken from Woolmer’s body had not yet been handed over to the police.
The police are also studying the electronic room key which was issued to Woolmer to find out what and how many times his room door was opened during the hours leading up to his death.
Reports reaching the Sunday Observer are that after Pakistan’s embarrassing loss to Ireland, there was a heated argument between team members and the late coach on the team bus.
Bob Woolmer was 58 at the time of his death, which police say was caused by asphyxia due to manual strangulation.
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