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Sindh High Court Overturns Death Sentence of Convict in Daniel Pearl Case

A two-judge bench of Sindh High Court overturned the death sentence of convict Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh for kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal bureau chief Daniel Pearl in 2002. The bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha commuted the death sentence to seven years in prison for Ahmed, who has already spent 18 years on death row.

“He could go free unless the government chooses to challenge the court decision,” Dawn reported Ahmed’s attorney Khwaja Naveed who had filed the appeal against the verdict in 2002.

The co-convicts Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil, and Salman Saqib who were sentenced to life imprisonment have also been acquitted by the court who found insufficient evidence against the alleged killers of the slain journalist.

“Justice has been done to my clients,” added Naveed.

Daniel Pearl was South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal. While investigating a story on religious extremists, the American national was abducted and beheaded by a militant group in January 2002 – a video of which was sent to the American consulate in Karachi.

While the court at the time sentenced Ahmed to death and three co-conspirators to life sentence, it had been revealed in multiple reports later on that the court has apprehended wrong people.

“In January 2011, a report released by the Pearl Project at Georgetown University following an investigation into his death made chilling revelations, claiming that the wrong men were convicted for Pearl’s murder,” Dawn reported.

Pearl’s former colleague Asra Nomani also alleged that mastermind of 9/11 Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the one who had murdered the journalist. Khalid, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and is currently held in Guantanamo Bay, also made the same revelation to a criminal psychologist during his custody.

Aisha Arshad

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