Pakistan must release a man convicted of murdering Daniel Pearl

In Pakistan, the man who was initially sentenced to death for involvement in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl was released, but later partly acquitted. Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh was taken from his cell by order of the Pakistani Supreme Court and taken to a so-called safe house of the government.

Sheikh can‘t leave the location, he’s guarded 24 hours a day. Well, his family can come and visit.

Pearl‘s American family and Pakistani government are convinced of Sheikh’s guilt and tried to stop his release. However, the Supreme Court rejected a request to that effect last Thursday. The fact that he must now remain in a safe house is seen as a court concession to the government.

In 2002, Daniel Pearl investigated links between Islamic terrorists and Richard Reid, an American terrorist known as the ‘shoe bomber’. In the Pakistani city of Karachi, Pearl was then abducted and beheaded a few days later.

A few months later, Sheikh was sentenced to death as the brains behind the kidnapping and murder. However, he denied his involvement.

‘A small role’

In April of last year, his sentence was reduced by a Pakistani judge to seven years, because he was only involved in the kidnapping and not in the murder. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to reverse that decision, but did not.

A few days ago, a handwritten letter from Sheikh from 2019 appeared in which he admits to having been involved in the murder of Pearl. However, according to his own words, he would have played โ€œa small roleโ€. According to Sheikh‘s lawyer, he wrote that letter under pressure.

The United States has previously said to ask for Sheikh’s extradition if he were to be released. In addition to the murder of Pearl, Sheikh in America has also been charged with kidnapping an American in India.