Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday frees a man convicted and accused of the murder, specifically beheading US journalist Daniel Pearl. The decision has left his family in “complete shock”, according to the lawyers.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the accused was the main suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, SC now frees him. A panel of three judges has acquitted him.
“By a majority of two to one, they have acquitted all the accused persons and ordered their release,” a provincial advocate general, Salman Talibuddin, told Reuters.
Pearl, 38, was investigating militants in Karachi after September 11, 2001, attacks on the US when he was kidnapped.
His case grabbed headlines globally after a video of his beheading emerged in captivity.
Meanwhile, Sheikh and his co-accused are to be released immediately if they aren’t required in any other case. The head of the court panel, Justice Mushir Alam said in a short court order.
A high court last year commuted the death penalty of the British-born Sheikh into a life sentence. It also acquitted his three co-accused, citing lack of evidence.
The government and Pearl’s parents challenged that decision and pleaded to the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty. Meanwhile, the top court turned down both pleas on Thursday.
The United States had said that it may seek to try Sheikh if efforts to keep him in prison failed.
The Pearl family was in “complete shock”, the family’s lawyer, Faisal Siddiqi, told Reuters. He said the court decision was a travesty of justice.
“No amount of injustice will defeat our resolve to fight for justice for Daniel Pearl,” he said.
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