A provincial court in Pakistan last week ordered the release of the key suspect in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
The US warned on Wednesday that it would not allow a Pakistani man who was convicted and later acquitted in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl to evade justice after a provincial court in Pakistan ordered his release, The Associated Press reported.
The Sindh High Court in Pakistan’s south last week overturned a government detention order that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, should remain in custody.
Sheikh was convicted for his role in helping lure Pearl in January 2002 to a meeting in the city of Karachi, during which he was kidnapped. Pearl, 38, was killed the next month.
Sheikh, who was on death row for 18 years, was acquitted earlier this year of murdering the Wall Street Journal reporter but had been held while Pearl’s family appeals.
In a statement on Wednesday, acting US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said, “We understand that Pakistani authorities are taking steps to ensure that Omar Sheikh remains in custody while the Supreme Court appeal seeking to reinstate his conviction continues. The separate judicial rulings reversing his conviction and ordering his release are an affront to terrorism victims everywhere.”
Rosen praised Pakistan for appealing the rulings to ensure that Sheikh and his co-defendants are held accountable. “If, however, those efforts do not succeed, the United States stands ready to take custody of Omar Sheikh to stand trial here,” he stated.
The US, he stressed, “cannot allow (Sheikh) to evade justice for his role in Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder.”