18:48 GMT23 January 2021
Listen Live
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    0 10

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Local authorities in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh will not follow a Karachi court decision and free four suspects accused of the kidnapping and murder of a US journalist in 2002, the local Express Tribune newspaper reported on Sunday, citing sources.

    The Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief, Daniel Pearl, was abducted and beheaded by Islamist militants in the province's capital opf Karachi when he was covering terrorist networks in Pakistan.

    On Thursday, the Sindh High Court (SHC) in Karachi ruled for the release of Omar Saeed Sheikh, a UK citizen of Pakistani origin and a suspect of masterminding Pearl's murder, as well as three of his accomplices, namely Fahad Nasim Ahmed, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil.

    According to the Express Tribune, the Sindh government decided against releasing the four men, citing a relevant Supreme Court order issued on 28 September, when a three-judge panel decided to keep suspects in jail until the next hearing. The provincial government considers the Supreme Court’s ruling legally binding.

    "The SHC in its 24 December order also clarified that accused should not be released if there is a Supreme Court restraining order regarding their detention", a senior government official told the newspaper.

    Sheikh was sentenced to death by the same court in 2002, but the sentence was overturned in April 2020, when the court lifted all charges except for the kidnapping, which is punishable by seven years of prison in Pakistan.

    Three other suspects who were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002, also had their convictions overturned in April. Despite this, the Pakistani authorities used emergency detention powers to keep the four in jail. The SHC said that the use of these powers was unjustified when it ruled the release of suspects in Pearl’s murder on Thursday.

    The Sindh government’s decision comes after the US on Friday expressed deep concerns over reports of the SHC’s ruling to release "multiple terrorists" responsible for Pearl’s murder.

    murder, journalist, Court, Pakistan
    Community standardsDiscussion