Daniel Pearl murder: Pakistan court orders release of Omar Sheikh, who was jailed in India for kidnapping
Daniel Pearl, then the South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, was reportedly researching on religious extremism in Pakistan's Karachi when he was abducted in January 2002. A graphic video of his decapitation was sent to the US consulate later.
January 28, 2021 / 03:49 PM IST
File image of police deployment outside Pakistan's Supreme Court
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on January 28 dismissed the Sindh provincial government's appeal against the High Court's decision to overturn conviction of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in the 2002 beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, said local news reports.
The three-judge bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam also directed the suspect to be released. One member of the bench opposed the decision, Dawn reported citing the verdict.
Sheikh was one of the three terrorists that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had freed in exchange for the hostages of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999. He had served jail time in India for 1994 kidnappings of Western tourists in the country.
On January 27, Sheikh told the apex court that he had played a "minor” role in the killing.
Daniel Pearl (38), then the South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, was reportedly researching on religious extremism in Karachi, Pakistan, when he was abducted in January 2002. A month later, a graphic video of his decapitation was sent to the US consulate.
Sheikh was arrested later in 2002 and sentenced to death by a trial court. However in April 2020, the Sindh High Court overturned Sheikh’s conviction. The High Court had also acquitted three other men who had been earlier sentenced to life imprisonment by an Anti-Terrorism Court in Karachi.
The Sindh government and Pearl’s parents had later filed separate appeals against the High Court's verdict in the top court.