Pakistani Justices Refuse to Block Lower Court Ruling in Pearl Murder
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has turned down a government request to delay an April ruling by a top provincial appeals court overturning the murder conviction of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. A dual national of Pakistan and Britain, Sheikh was on death row since 2002 after being convicted in the kidnapping and killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl. The provincial court said the prosecution had not sufficiently made its case regarding the murder charge, ruling that Sheikh and three accomplices who were serving prison terms of 25 years should have been sentenced to just seven years. They remain in jail owing to a Pakistani ordinance allowing people to be detained for up to 90 days if their release poses a risk to public order. Based in Mumbai, Pearl, a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, disappeared in Karachi in January 2002. He had gone there believing he was going to interview a man accused of ties to Richard Reid, a British citizen who attempted to bring down a US airliner with explosives implanted in his shoes. Pearl was killed in a video-taped decapitation nine days later. His parents filed a separate appeal seeking a stay in the regional court’s ruling. Monday’s decision said the Supreme Court would be willing to hear the government’s appeal in September.