SC orders government to move Omar Saeed Sheikh from prison to rest house

SC orders government to move Omar Saeed Sheikh from prison to rest house

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the release of Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh from prison. 

The Apex Court also recommended that Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh be transferred to a government safe house as a stepping stone to his full release after spending 18 years on death row.

"He should be moved to a comfortable residential environment, something like a rest house where he can live a normal life," said Justice Omar Ata Bandyal.

Bandyal headed a panel of three judges that reviewed the case, following a petition from the government after the court upheld last Thursday a Sindh High Court's decision to acquit Sheikh and three accomplices of all charges except abduction.

The apex court also directed authorities to ensure complete security of the rest house, and allowed Sheikh's family access to him from 8am to 5pm, while hearing a petition filed by the accused against his detention despite high court orders in this regard.

The accused, however, will not be given access to mobile and internet services while his family will be given accommodation and transport on the government's expense, according to the court's directives.

On Jan 28, by a majority of two to one, the apex court had upheld the high court's acquittal of Sheikh for Pearl's murder and ordered his release if he was not wanted in any other case.

Sheikh was convicted in the kidnapping and murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

On assignment for the Wall Street Journal in the months after al Qaeda 9/11 attacks on the United States, Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi and later beheaded. The militants videoed his execution.