ISLAMABAD—Pakistan’s prime courtroom agreed Monday to listen to arguments that a death sentence really should be reinstated on the British national accused of orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl soon after a lower courtroom overturned his conviction before this 12 months.
The Supreme Court purchased that Omar Sheikh go on to be detained for now. The destiny of Mr. Sheikh, who was sentenced to death in 2002 for orchestrating the abduction and killing of Mr. Pearl, has grow to be an significant litmus take a look at of Pakistan’s relationship with the U.S.
The authorities of Pakistan and the Pearl family experienced individually petitioned the Supreme Court to listen to an attractiveness from a lower-courtroom conclusion in April to overturn the death sentence handed down in 2002 to Mr. Sheikh.
That ruling manufactured Mr. Sheikh and three accomplices whose convictions were overturned eligible for launch. So considerably, the authorities has utilized unexpected emergency powers to go on detaining them.
It is unclear when the real appeals will now be read, and it could choose months or even yrs, attorneys mentioned. The Supreme Court will make a decision upcoming 7 days whether Mr. Sheikh will go on to be imprisoned pending the result of these attractiveness proceedings. His law firm wasn’t present in the courtroom to argue on his behalf, citing overall health troubles.
Faisal Siddiqi, a law firm for the Pearl family, termed the listening to a complete accomplishment.
“There is incredibly considerable proof from all the accused,” he mentioned.
The Wall Street Journal’s publisher, Dow Jones, is contributing to the legal expenses for the family’s attractiveness.
Mr. Sheikh and his three alleged accomplices deny involvement in the abduction and killing of the journalist, who disappeared from the southern city of Karachi in January 2002. He was killed days afterwards, and a video clip of his beheading surfaced on the world wide web.
Mr. Sheikh’s law firm, Mahmood Sheikh, speaking by cell phone, termed the court’s listening to of arguments for the attractiveness without having the accused’s attorney present “most uncommon.”
Mahmood Sheikh mentioned he experienced been advised by his doctor to rest in mattress soon after suffering a coronary heart assault before this thirty day period. In his prepared submission to the courtroom, the law firm challenged the proof from his consumer as unreliable or fabricated. The law firm mentioned that upcoming 7 days he would argue ahead of the courtroom that Omar Sheikh really should be freed though the attractiveness is read.
Mr. Pearl was the Journal’s bureau main for South Asia. He was reporting on extremist teams in Pakistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when he went lacking.
In the courtroom listening to, the government’s law firm, Farooq Naek, mentioned that Mr. Sheikh belonged to an global terrorist team and may flee the region if launched from jail.
Mr. Sheikh dropped out of higher education in London in the early 1990s and flew to Pakistan, wherever he joined a jihadist team. That team sent him to India, wherever he aided kidnap some Western travelers, but was caught and jailed there in 1994. He was freed soon after the hijackers of an Indian plane demanded that he and other militants be launched.
At his demo in 2002, prosecutors alleged that he fulfilled Mr. Pearl in the northern city of Rawalpindi and offered to assist him with a story he was doing work on, and then lured him to Karachi, wherever he was kidnapped. Mr. Sheikh was convicted of kidnapping for ransom, murder and terrorism.
Nevertheless, a courtroom in Karachi in April overturned the murder and terrorism convictions and downgraded the third conviction to the much less-significant crime of uncomplicated kidnapping. That meant his death sentence was downgraded to seven yrs in jail. As he experienced already served 18 yrs in prison, he was eligible for launch. His accomplices were exonerated in that ruling.
Ahead of Monday’s listening to, Judea Pearl, the father of the murdered journalist, experienced mentioned that if Omar Sheikh were freed, it would send out a information of impunity to terrorists around the world.
Publish to Saeed Shah at [email protected]
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