Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Daniel Pearl murder accused Omar Sheikh to be moved to govt accommodation

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Under house arrest, Sheikh will be allowed to meet his family from 8 am to 5 pm. He will be kept under strict surveillance. His access to phones and internet will also be restricted.

The Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered authorities to move British born Al-Qaeda terrorist Omar Saeed Sheikh to a government rest house where he will be kept under security. Sheikh is accused of kidnapping and murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 and was acquitted by the court last year.

Under house arrest, Sheikh will be allowed to meet his family from 8 am to 5 pm. He will be kept under strict surveillance. His access to phones and internet will also be restricted.

Pakistan Supreme Court announced the decision while it was hearing an appeal filed by Sindh provincial government against the court’s earlier order to release him. Earlier this month, it upheld the acquittal of Omar Sheikh triggering outrage from the United States. The court had acquitted Saeed Sheikh on the basis of insufficient evidence.

Also Read | Blinken dials Pak FM Qureshi, seeks accountability in Daniel Pearl’s murder case

Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted and beheaded by terrorists in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about Islamist terrorists. Omar Sheikh was arrested and convicted for Pearl’s kidnapping and murder, and was eventually sentenced to death, which was commuted by the Sindh high court in April 2020 to seven years.

Omar Sheikh has already served 18 years in prison. His release was delayed as the Sindh state government and Pearl’s family appealed to the Supreme Court.

Lawyers for Pearl’s family have argued that Omar Sheikh played a crucial role in organising the abduction and detention of the journalist before ordering his captors to kill him. Defence lawyers, however, say he was a scapegoat.

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