A provincial court in Pakistan has ordered the release of a British-born Pakistani man convicted in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was convicted and sentenced to death in Pearl’s murder. But in April another court downgraded the charges. The suspect remained in custody while Pearl’s family and the Pakistani Government appealed that decision.
Daniel Pearl was an American journalist with the Wall Street Journal. He was working as the South Asia Bureau Chief with the WSJ and was based in Mumbai, India. In 2002, at 38 years old, Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story of terror groups' links to Al Qaeda. A gruesome video of Pearl’s beheading was later sent to the US Consulate.
The Sindh High Court in Pakistan on Thursday has directed the release of terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib in connection with the kidnapping and murder of the US journalist.
While the Pakistani government is against the decision of the release of Sheikh and they wholly believe that Sheikh should be sentenced to death, the decision to set him free was made by the Sindh High Court. It made the ruling back in April, essentially commuting the sentence stating that Mr Sheikh has been charged with a crime he did not commit and that he should have only been convicted of kidnapping charges, which he has already served a 7-year sentence for.
While Pearl’s loved ones are disturbed and disappointed by this decision, The US House Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has also expressed its "deep concerns" over the Pakistani court's decision in April to overturn the conviction of Omar Saeed Sheikh for the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl.