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Pakistan to Challenge Acquittal in Daniel Pearl Killing
A partially completed portrait of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, by artist Levi Ponce, is seen in May 2015 near Pearl’s old neighborhood in Los Angeles. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan to Challenge Acquittal in Daniel Pearl Killing

The Pakistani government has announced it will file an appeal with the country’s Supreme Court after a top provincial court last week overturned the death sentence of the central figure in the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. The Sindh High Court on Thursday reduced Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh’s sentence to seven years in prison and acquitted three other alleged accomplices. The move could have freed the former top al-Qaida figure, who has been jailed since shortly after the killing, however, provincial authorities have since invoked a law – based on “public safety” grounds – that will keep the four locked up for at least the next three months. Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Karachi while researching a story about the connection between Islamic terrorists and Pakistan’s powerful national intelligence agency. The US described the Pakistani court ruling as an “affront to victims of terrorism,” with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “demanding justice for [Pearl’s] brutal murder.”

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