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  4. US deeply concerned over release of men charged in Daniel Pearl's murder case by Pakistan court

US deeply concerned over release of men charged in Daniel Pearl's murder case by Pakistan court

The United States has expressed concerns over the release of British-born al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides by a Pakistan court in the abduction and murder case of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

PTI Reported by: PTI Washington Published on: December 25, 2020 14:32 IST
US deeply concerned over release of men charged in Daniel Pearl's murder case by Pakistan court
Image Source : FILE

US deeply concerned over release of men charged in Daniel Pearl's murder case by Pakistan court 

The United States has expressed concerns over the release of British-born al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides by a Pakistan court in the abduction and murder case of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, an agency within the US Department of State, tweeted, "We are deeply concerned by the reports of the December 24 ruling of Sindh High Court to release multiple terrorists responsible for the murder of Daniel Pearl. We have been assured that the accused have not been released at this time."

"We understand that this case is ongoing and will be following closely. We continue to stand with the Pearl family through this extremely difficult process," the agency which is responsible for the US government's relations with countries in the South and Central Asian region said.

"We continue to honor Daniel Pearl’s legacy as a courageous journalist," it added.

A Pakistan court on Thursday ordered the release of Omar and his associates -- Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil, in the abduction and murder case of Pearl. They will walk out from the Karachi's Central Jail  on Saturday.

A two-judge bench of the Sindh High Court, presided over by Justice KK Agha, directed security agencies not to keep Sheikh and other accused under "any sort of detention" and declared all notifications of the Sindh government related to their detention "null and void". The court observed that the four men's detention was "illegal".

In April, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench commuted the death sentence of 46-year-old Sheikh to seven years imprisonment. The court also acquitted his three aides who were serving life terms in the case almost two decades after they were found guilty and jailed. However, the Sindh government refused to release them and kept them in detention under the Maintenance of Public Order. Their continuous detention was challenged in the Sindh High Court, which ordered their release. However, it asked to place their names on the no-fly list so that they could not leave the country. It also directed them to appear before the court whenever summoned. 

Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.

ALSO READ | Men charged in Daniel Pearl's murder case to be released on Saturday

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