Pakistan’s top court stays release of Daniel Pearl murder accused
The Supreme Court also accepted an appeal by the family of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter to join as a party in the case.Updated: Sep 28, 2020, 20:24 IST
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday barred the Sindh government from releasing British-born al Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides - the main accused in the abduction and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
The court also accepted an appeal by the family of the slain Wall Street Journal reporter to join as a party in the case.
A three-member judge bench led by Justice Mushir Alam granted the petition of the Sindh government as well as that of Daniel Pearl’s parents to appeal against an earlier judgment of the Sindh High Court to release British-born Shaikh, the main accused in the case.
In April, the Sindh High Court commuted the death sentence of Sheikh – convicted for kidnapping and murdering Pearl in 2002 – to seven years, and acquitted three others who were serving life terms in the case. This decision had been handed down almost two decades after they were found guilty and jailed. The detention period of the accused was set to end on September 30.
The counsel for Pearl’s parents, Faisal Siddiqui, argued on Monday that Sheikh wrote a confessional letter to the SHC Registrar .But the high court ignored his confession in the letter, he said.
Siddiqui told the court that all parties in the case had filed an appeal against the decision of the Sindh High Court. He pleaded that an earlier decision by a trial court be reinstated that had condemned Sheikh to death.
Faisal Siddiqui said the confessional statements of the two accused persons proved the murder to be a conspiracy.
In August, the Sindh High Court had dismissed a petition challenging the extended detention of the men accused of kidnapping and murdering Pearl. The court had found it inadmissible.
Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi in January 2002 and killed soon after.
Sheikh has already spent 18 years in prison while on death row. The Sindh High Court had ruled that his seven-year sentence for kidnapping was counted as time served.
(With inputs from Agencies)