Karachi, Pakistan — A provincial court docket in Pakistan on Thursday ordered the discharge of a British-born Pakistani man charged within the 2002 homicide of American journalist Daniel Pearl, his protection lawyer mentioned.
The Sindh Excessive Court docket’s launch order overturns a choice by Pakistan’s high court docket that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the important thing suspect in Pearl’s slaying, stay in custody. Sheikh was acquitted of murdering Pearl earlier this 12 months however has been held whereas Pearl’s household appeals the acquittal.
Sheikh’s lawyer, Mehmood A. Sheikh, with whom he isn’t associated, referred to as for his shopper to be launched instantly.
“The detention order is struck down,” mentioned Faisal Siddiqi, the Pearl household lawyer. Sheikh shall be freed till the attraction is accomplished, he mentioned, however shall be returned to jail if the household is profitable in overturning the acquittal.
Sheikh was sentenced to demise and three others have been sentenced to life in jail for his or her function within the plot. However a decrease Pakistani court docket in April acquitted him and three others, a transfer that surprised the U.S. authorities, Pearl’s household and journalism advocacy teams.
The acquittal is now being appealed individually by each the federal government and Pearl’s household. The Pakistani authorities has opposed Sheikh’s launch, saying it might endanger the general public. The Supreme Court docket will resume its listening to on Jan. 5.
Sheikh had been convicted of serving to lure Pearl to a gathering within the southern Pakistani port metropolis of Karachi by which he was kidnapped, on January 23, 2002.
Pearl had been investigating the hyperlink between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, dubbed the “Shoe Bomber” after attempting to explode a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his sneakers.
A videotape obtained by U.S. diplomats in February 2002 confirmed that the 38-year-old Wall Road Journal reporter from Encino, California was lifeless. He had been beheaded.
In court docket testimony and emails launched through the 2002 trial, Sheikh mentioned he developed a private relationship with Pearl earlier than he was kidnapped, with each sharing their issues about their wives, who have been pregnant on the time. Marianne Pearl gave start to their son Adam in Might 2002.
The Pearl Undertaking, an investigative journalism staff at Georgetown College, carried out a three-year investigation into Pearl’s kidnapping and demise. It concluded the reporter was beheaded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and later described because the architect of the 9/11 assaults on the US. Mohammad is a prisoner on the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.