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US ‘deeply concerned’ over SHC’s order to release accused in Daniel Pearl case

Daniel Pearl’s family welcomes Pakistan’s bid to stop release of US journalist’s killers

Says assured men not released yet; “will be following case closely”

A day after the Sindh High Court (SHC) ordered the immediate release of the accused in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl’s case, the US State Department on Friday expressed its concerns over the high court’s order.

In a tweet, the state department maintained that, “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.”

It further added that, “We have been assured that the accused have not been released at this time.”

The state department further acknowledged that the case was still ongoing, adding that it will be “closely following” it and stands with the journalist’s family “through this extremely difficult process”. 

‘Confident of the SC’

Earlier in the day, Ruth and Judea Pearl – the parents of Daniel Pearl – expressed full confidence in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to provide justice for their son and reinforce the paramount of the freedom of the press.

In a statement, the parents condemned the decision made by the high court. They said, “We refuse to believe that the Pakistani government and the Pakistani people will let such a travesty of justice tarnish the image and legacy of Pakistan.”

They were heartened to hear that the federal government is filing an appeal against the latest release order, adding that they believe Pearl’s murderers should remain in jail.

The SHC on Thursday set aside the detention of four men – including key accused Omer Saeed Sheikh – who were convicted by an anti-terrorism court in 2002 for the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Later three of them were acquitted, while the one got his sentence commuted.

Declaring the detention of the accused illegal, the court ordered immediate release of Omer Saeed Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil. The court further ordered that their names be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Pearl’s murder

Daniel Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002. Pearl’s wife Marianne Pearl, a US national who was living in Karachi, wrote a letter to the Artillery Maidan police on February 2, 2002, stating that her husband disappeared on January 23, 2002.

Later, a graphic video showing Pearl’s decapitation was delivered to the US consulate in Karachi nearly a month after he was kidnapped. After this, a case was filed against the suspects and 23 witnesses were produced in the case by the prosecution. Sheikh was arrested in February 2002.

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