Thursday, February 25, 2021

Shock as Pakistan orders release of Islamist convicted of beheading US journalist

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calls the decision 'an affront to terrorism victims everywhere'.

Other News

Tidak perlu surat polis rentas negeri hantar anak ke asrama

Ibu bapa hanya perlu menunjukkan surat yang dikeluarkan pihak sekolah semasa melalui sekatan jalan raya.

No police permit needed to cross borders for school

Parents only need to show letters issued by the schools at police roadblocks.

Kes baru Covid-19 jatuh bawah 2,000

12 lagi kematian dicatatkan.

New cases drop below 2,000 mark

12 more deaths reported.

MIC leader questions ‘fickle-minded’ Umno chiefs

MIC deputy president M Saravanan says the party will only decide based on discussions in Barisan Nasional.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of an Islamist convicted of beheading US journalist Daniel Pearl, a decision that has left his family in “complete shock”, lawyers said, adding that the court decision was a travesty of justice.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the decision “an affront to terrorism victims everywhere” and said Washington was prepared to prosecute Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in the US.

British-born Omar, who was the main suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl, was acquitted by a panel of three judges.

“By a majority of 2-1, they have acquitted all the accused persons and ordered their release,” provincial advocate general, Salman Talibuddin said.

Omar and his co-accused are to be released immediately, Reuters is reporting.

Pearl, 38, was investigating Islamist militants in Karachi after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on the US when he was kidnapped.

His case made headlines around the world after a gruesome video of his captors beheading him emerged weeks after he was abducted.

A high court last year commuted the death penalty of Omar to a life sentence and acquitted his three co-accused, citing lack of evidence.

The government and Pearl’s parents challenged that decision and pleaded to the Supreme Court to reinstate the death penalty. The Supreme Court turned down both pleas on Thursday.

Blinken said Washington is “deeply concerned” by the decision to acquit Omar and his co-defendants and “any proposed action to release them”.

Omar was indicted in 2002 by a federal grand jury in New Jersey on charges of hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, resulting in Pearl’s death.

He also was indicted in 2001 in the US for the 1994 kidnapping in New Delhi, India, of an American tourist, who was rescued by police.

Pearl, who was the Wall Street Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, went missing in January 2002.

The BBC describes how he had been researching links between Islamist militant activity in Karachi and British Islamist Richard Reid, who tried to blow up a passenger plane using bombs hidden in his shoes.

Prosecutors accused Omar of luring him to a meeting with an Islamic cleric. Pearl and Omar had built a relationship discussing concerns about their wives, who were both pregnant at the time.

Almost a month later, a video showing his beheading was sent to the US consulate in Karachi.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Pakistan likely to need Covid-19 jabs from arch-rival India

Almost 90% of vaccines administered in Pakistan already come from India.

Spared the worst of Covid-19, Pakistan’s poor abandon SOPs

While Pakistan managed to avoid the huge numbers of casualties authorities had feared, a social divide is appearing between those who observe SOPs and those who do not.

‘Raped twice’: Pakistan virginity tests block justice for victims

In a country where rape is vastly underreported and survivors of sexual assault are viewed with suspicion, virginity tests are often ordered as part of police investigations.

Islamic State claims attack on Pakistan Shia miners that killed 11

Hazaras are frequently targeted by Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Missing Pakistani rights activist found dead in Canada

She fled Pakistan after being charged with terrorism and was living in exile in Toronto.