New Delhi (NVI): The United States has expressed “deep concern” over Pakistan court order to release four terrorists convicted earlier in the 2002 murder case of the American journalist Daniel Pearl.
According to the reports, the Sindh High Court yesterday ordered the release of British-born al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib, who were earlier convicted and sentenced in the case.
In a statement issued on Twitter, the US State Department said, “We are deeply concerned by the reports of the December 24 ruling of Sindh High Court to release multiple terrorists responsible for the murder of Daniel Pearl. We have been assured that the accused have not been released at this time.”
(2/3)We understand that this case is ongoing and will be following closely. We continue to stand with the Pearl family through this extremely difficult process.
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) December 24, 2020
The statement added, “We understand that this case is ongoing and will be following closely. We continue to stand with the Pearl family through this extremely difficult process and continue to honour Daniel Pearl’s legacy as a courageous journalist.”
In an order issued on Thursday, the Sindh High Court in Karachi said Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British national, must be released from government detention by December 27.
The court order said Ahmed Omer Saeed Shaikh and three others would not be allowed to leave the country until the court had ruled on the case and also ordered putting the names of accused Shaikh and others in the exit control list (ECL), as per the reports.
Sheikh was sentenced to death in 2002 for masterminding Pearl’s murder but the conviction was overturned this year. He with other accused has been in jail since last 18 years awaiting the outcome of a series of appeals and legal arguments.
The court’s decision earlier this year to overturn the rulings shocked the US government, journalist advocacy groups and Pearl’s family.
In 2002, the 38-year-old journalist of The Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau, was kidnapped and beheaded while he was in Pakistan’s Karachi investigating a story of terror groups links to Al-Qaeda outfit.
A videotape of Pearl answering his captors’ questions, followed by his beheading, was sent to the US Consulate General in Karachi and posted on the Internet, the reports said.