New Delhi: The US on Friday condemned the commutation of death sentence of the mastermind of the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, remarking that those responsible for his heinous kidnapping and murder should be made to face the full measure of justice. Also Read - 'Routine Order,' Says MEA After it Directs Embassy in US to Look Into Request For Deporting Scribe to India
A Pakistani court had, on Thursday, overturned the death sentence of the British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, better known as Omar Sheikh, and acquitted three others. Sheikh has now been in jail for 18 years, awaiting the outcome of an appeal. Also Read - Malaysia probes claim China offered to bail out 1MDB
A two-judge bench of the Sindh High Court pronounced its order after observing that the evidence produced by the prosecution was insufficient to link the four to Pearl’s murder. Also Read - Cyber-attack hits US newspaper deliveries: report
Today, the United States’ Bureau of South And Central Asian Affairs (SCA), quoting Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, tweeted: “The overturning of the convictions for Daniel Pearl’s murder is an affront to the victims of terrorism everywhere. We welcome Pakistan’s decision to appeal the verdict.”
“Those responsible for Daniel’s heinous kidnapping and murder must face the full measure of justice,” it further stated.
The court, additionally, acquitted all four of the charges of kidnapping the American for ransom too, and found Sheikh guilty only on the charge of abduction. He was sentenced to seven years in jail for the abduction charge, and, as such, is expected to be freed soon given the time he has already served.
38-year-old Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in January 2002, having been in Karachi since after the 9/11 attacks. He was investigating Islamic militants in Pakistan’s financial capital. His case grabbed headlines globally, after a video of his beheading emerged weeks after his abduction.