Final Supreme Court Review Approves Acquittal of Pearl’s Alleged Killer
A special panel of Pakistani Supreme Court justices on Tuesday completed its review of the court’s decision last week to uphold a lower court’s acquittal of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted of the kidnap and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. The justices approved the ruling, ordering Sheikh’s temporary placement in a government safe house before his full release. On Friday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, voicing concern over Thursday’s controversial verdict. The Islamabad government then ordered the panel review, which found no reason to reverse the acquittal. On assignment in Karachi for the Wall Street Journal following the 9/11 attacks, Pearl was kidnapped and later beheaded by al Qaeda and Pakistani Islamist militants. Al-Qaida’s number-three man, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, later confessed to taking part in the journalist’s murder. Mohammed currently is awaiting trial on multiple counts at Guantanamo Bay, while Sheikh has spent the past 18 years on death row in Pakistan.