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Pakistan’s Most sensible Court docket to Weigh Reinstating Demise Sentence on Accused Killer of WSJ Reporter

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ISLAMABAD—Pakistan’s best court docket Monday agreed to listen to arguments {that a} loss of life sentence will have to be reinstated at the British nationwide accused of orchestrating the abduction and homicide of Wall Side road Magazine reporter Daniel Pearl after a decrease court docket overturned his conviction previous this yr.

The Ideal Court docket ordered that Omar Sheikh proceed to be detained for now. The destiny of Mr. Sheikh, who was once sentenced to loss of life in 2002 for orchestrating the kidnapping and killing of Mr. Pearl, has change into a very powerful litmus check of Pakistan’s dating with the U.S.

The federal government of Pakistan and the Pearl circle of relatives had one at a time petitioned the Ideal Court docket to listen to an enchantment towards a lower-court resolution in April to overturn the loss of life sentence passed down in 2002 to Mr. Sheikh.

That ruling made Mr. Sheikh, along side 3 accomplices whose convictions have been overturned, eligible for unencumber. To this point, the federal government has used emergency powers to proceed detaining them.

It’s unclear when the true appeals will now be heard, regardless that it might take months and even years, attorneys stated. The Ideal Court docket will come to a decision subsequent week whether or not Mr. Sheikh will proceed to be imprisoned pending the end result of the ones enchantment complaints. His legal professional wasn’t provide within the court docket to argue on his behalf, mentioning well being issues.

Daniel Pearl was once researching extremist teams in Pakistan after the 9/11 assaults when he was once lured to Karachi, abducted and killed.


AFP/Getty Pictures

Faisal Siddiqi, a legal professional for the Pearl circle of relatives, known as the listening to a “whole luck.”

“There’s very considerable proof towards the entire accused,” he stated.

Mr. Sheikh and his 3 alleged accomplices all deny involvement within the abduction and killing of the journalist, who disappeared from the southern town of Karachi in January 2002. He was once killed days later, and a video of his beheading surfaced on the web

Mr. Sheikh’s legal professional, Mahmood Sheikh, talking via telephone, stated he couldn’t instantly remark at the court docket’s resolution as he wasn’t provide and hadn’t noticed the court docket order. He known as the court docket’s listening to of arguments for the enchantment with out the accused’s lawyer provide “maximum ordinary.”

Mahmood Sheikh stated he have been urged via his physician to leisure in mattress after struggling a middle assault previous this month. In his written submission to the court docket, the legal professional challenged the proof towards his shopper as unreliable or fabricated. He has additionally demanded that Omar Sheikh be freed.

Mr. Pearl was once the Magazine’s bureau leader for South Asia. He was once reporting on extremist teams in Pakistan within the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, assaults when he went lacking.

Within the court docket listening to, the federal government’s legal professional, Farooq Naek, stated that Mr. Sheikh belonged to a global terrorist crew and may flee the rustic if launched from prison.

Mr. Sheikh dropped out of faculty in London within the early 1990s and flew to Pakistan, the place he joined a jihadist crew. That crew despatched him to India, the place he helped kidnap some Western vacationers, however was once stuck and jailed there in 1994. He was once freed after the hijackers of an Indian airplane demanded that he and different militants be launched.

At his trial in 2002, prosecutors alleged that he met Mr. Pearl within the northern town of Rawalpindi and introduced to help him with a tale he was once operating on, after which lured him to Karachi, the place he was once abducted. Mr. Sheikh was once convicted of kidnapping for ransom, homicide, and terrorism.

Alternatively, a court docket in Karachi in April overturned the homicide and terrorism convictions and downgraded the 3rd conviction to the less-serious crime of easy kidnapping. That intended his loss of life sentence was once downgraded to seven years in prison. As he had already served 18 years in jail, he was once eligible for unencumber. His accomplices have been exonerated in that ruling.

Forward of Monday’s listening to, Judea Pearl, the daddy of the murdered journalist, had stated that if Omar Sheikh have been freed, it might ship a message of impunity to terrorists all over the world.

Write to Saeed Shah at [email protected]

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