Pakistani court orders man accused of killing journalist Daniel Pearl freed
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of a Pakistani man convicted and later acquitted in the gruesome beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
The court also dismissed an appeal of Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh’s acquittal by Pearl’s family.
Sheikh has been on death row since his conviction in the death of Pearl in 2002. His attorney said Sheikh “should not have spent one day in jail.”
Attorney Mehmood A. Sheikh, no relation, said the court ordered three other Pakistanis, who had been sentenced to life in prison for their part in Pearl’s kidnapping and death, also freed.
“Today’s decision is a complete travesty of justice and the release of these killers puts in danger journalists everywhere and the people of Pakistan,” the Pearl family said in a statement released by their lawyer.
Washington previously said it would demand Sheikh be extradited to the US to be tried there. There was no immediate reaction from the US embassy to the court order upholding the appeal.
“We urge the US government to take all necessary actions under the law to correct this injustice. We also hope that the Pakistani authorities will take all necessary steps to rectify this travesty of justice,” the Pearl family said.
Mr. Siddiqi said the only legal avenue following the court’s decision upholding the acquittal would be to ask for a review of the court decision. Still, he said the same court would conduct the review that upheld the appeal, meaning “in practical terms,” there is no further legal route in Pakistan.
Sheikh was convicted of helping lure Pearl to a meeting in Karachi, during which he was kidnapped. He had been investigating the link between Pakistani militants and Richard C Reid, dubbed the “Shoe Bomber” after trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.
Pearl disappeared on January 23rd, and his body was discovered in a shallow grave soon after a gruesome video of his beheading was delivered to the US consulate in Karachi.
Maybe it is time for the Pearl family to look elsewhere to get justice. I think they could look to Israel or elsewhere to see if there is a way to make sure justice is dealt with these terrorists.
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