Sat. Apr 10th, 2021

US "Outraged" As Pakistan Court docket Upholds Acquittal In Daniel Pearl Homicide

Pearl’s killing — which was filmed — prompted worldwide shock and outrage. (File)

Washington, United States:

The White Home mentioned it was “outraged” Thursday after Pakistan’s prime court docket upheld the acquittal and ordered the discharge of the militant convicted of masterminding the 2002 beheading of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Joe Biden’s administration is “outraged by the Pakistani Supreme Court docket’s determination,” his chief spokeswoman Jen Psaki advised reporters, underscoring the uneasy alliance between Washington and Islamabad, which has fractured many occasions over Islamist militancy.

She referred to as the ruling “an affront to terrorism victims in every single place” and demanded the Pakistani authorities “overview its authorized choices.”

The White Home assertion got here after Pakistan’s Supreme Court docket upheld the acquittal of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been convicted of masterminding the brutal homicide of Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief for the Wall Avenue Journal, by jihadists.

Pearl’s killing — which was filmed — prompted worldwide shock and outrage.

“The court docket has come out to say that there is no such thing as a offense that he (Sheikh) has dedicated on this case,” Mahmood Sheikh, who represented the accused, advised AFP.

A court docket order mentioned that Sheikh together with three accomplices linked to the case ought to “be launched forthwith,” although it was not clear when that may occur.

Pearl was researching a narrative about Islamist militants when he was kidnapped within the southern port megacity of Karachi in Sindh province in January 2002.

Almost a month later, after a string of ransom calls for, a graphic video displaying his decapitation was given to officers.

Sheikh, a British-born jihadist who as soon as studied on the London College of Economics and had been concerned in earlier kidnappings of foreigners, was arrested days after Pearl’s abduction.

He was later sentenced to dying by hanging after telling a Karachi court docket that Pearl had already been killed days earlier than the ugly video of the journalist’s beheading had been launched.

Pearl’s household on Thursday referred to as the choice to free him “a travesty of justice” and pleaded for US intervention within the case.

“The discharge of those killers places in peril journalists in every single place and the folks of Pakistan. We urge the US authorities to take all obligatory actions beneath the regulation to right this injustice,” the household mentioned in an announcement.

– ‘Impunity’ –

Reporters With out Borders additionally slammed the ruling, saying that it “will stay as a logo of absolutely the impunity surrounding crimes of violence towards journalists on this nation.”

The ruling follows an outcry final yr when a decrease court docket acquitted the 47-year-old Sheikh of homicide and diminished his conviction to a lesser cost of kidnapping — overturning his dying sentence and ordering him freed after nearly 20 years in jail.


That sparked a collection of petitions, together with from Pearl’s household, however the Supreme Court docket rejected them within the cut up determination Thursday, upholding the acquittal.

For years Sheikh had denied personally killing Pearl, however the prime court docket heard earlier this week that he had admitted in a handwritten letter from 2019 that was despatched to a provincial court docket to having had a “minor position” .

Attorneys for Pearl’s household have argued that Sheikh performed a vital position in organizing the kidnapping and detention of the journalist, earlier than ordering his captors to kill him.

Protection attorneys, nevertheless, say he was a scapegoat and sentenced on inadequate proof.

Sheikh and the three different males have been held beneath emergency orders by the Sindh provincial authorities, which says they’re a hazard to the general public.

Late Thursday the Sindh authorities mentioned it will file a overview petition towards the Supreme Court docket verdict.

It was not clear how lengthy which may take, however Pakistan’s lawyer normal mentioned in an announcement that the federal authorities “is extending full assist” to the provincial authorities within the matter.

– US ‘able to take custody’ –

Final month the then-US performing Legal professional Common Jeffrey Rosen mentioned Washington “stands able to take custody of Omar Sheikh to face trial right here.”

Psaki on Thursday mentioned the US acknowledges “previous Pakistani actions to attempt to maintain Mr Pearl’s murderers accountable and we do word that as of proper now Omar Sheikh stays in detention.”

“We name on the Pakistani authorities to expeditiously overview its authorized choices, together with permitting the US to prosecute Sheikh for the brutal homicide of an American citizen and journalist.”

In January 2011, following an investigation into the killing, a report launched by the Pearl Challenge at Georgetown College made chilling revelations, claiming that the flawed males have been convicted for Pearl’s homicide.

The investigation claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 assaults.

The report additionally supplied granular particulars about Sheikh’s alleged position in orchestrating the kidnapping of Pearl.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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