Pakistan: Accused in Daniel Pearl murder case to be released
Pakistan's Supreme Court, on Tuesday, ordered the release of British-born al-Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the main suspect in the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. He will be shifted to the general barracks for two days following which he will be moved to a government rest house by Friday, where his family can visit from 8 am to 5 pm.
Sheikh should not have access to the outside world: SC
The apex court on Monday rejected the government's request to suspend the order to release Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib, but extended their interim detention order by one day to hear the government's position. On Tuesday, a three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial ordered that Sheikh should not have access to the outside world from the rest house.
SC rejected government's appeal to suspend Sindh High Court's verdict
The Supreme Court, however, again rejected the government's appeal to suspend the Sindh High Court's verdict on the acquittal of the accused and asked it to file an appeal against the High Court's decision, The Express Tribune reported.
Sindh High Court had commuted his death sentence last year
In April 2020, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench commuted the death sentence of 46-year-old Sheikh to seven years imprisonment. The court also acquitted his three aides who were serving life terms in the case, almost two decades after they were found guilty and jailed. The Sindh Government and the family of Pearl filed petitions in the apex court, challenging the High Court's verdict.
SC dismissed appeals against the acquittal last week
On Thursday, the SC dismissed appeals against the acquittal of Sheikh and ordered his release, a judgment denounced by the American journalist's family as a complete travesty of justice. The Sindh government on Friday filed a review petition in the apex court against the acquittal.
Amid pressure from the US, government to file an application
Voicing outrage over the acquittal of Sheikh, the White House asked Pakistan to review its legal options, including allowing the US to prosecute them to secure justice for Pearl's family. The federal government will file an application before the apex court to be allowed to join as a party in the proceedings and further seek review and recall of the court's January 28 judgment.
Court asked if Sheikh's involvement in terrorist activities is proved
During the hearing on Tuesday, the Attorney General of Pakistan told the court that Sheikh is not an ordinary accused, but a mastermind of terrorists and that he will disappear if released to which Justice Bandial asked if Sheikh's involvement in terrorist activities is proved.
What happened with Daniel Pearl in 2002?
Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda. His murder took place three years after Sheikh was released by India in 1999 in exchange for 150 passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814.