Pakistan to release prime accused in Daniel Pearl murder case after 18 years
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the principal accused in the 2002 beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
The short order was issued by a three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam.
The court had ordered that three others, who had been sentenced to life in prison for their part in Pearl's kidnapping and death, also be freed.
"Today's decision is a complete travesty of justice and the release of these killers puts in danger journalists everywhere and the people of Pakistan," the Pearl family said in a statement released by their lawyer.
Daniel Pearl, 38, was doing research on religious extremism in Karachi when he was abducted in January 2002. A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate a month later. Subsequently, Sheikh was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to death by a trial court.