On releasing Daniel Pearl’s killers, US issues stern warning to Pakistan
Islamabad, Dec 26: The United States has warned Pakistan against releasing the killers of Daniel Pearl.
The US said that it is deeply concerned after a court in Pakistan ordered the release of three terrorists involved in the murder of US journalist, Daniel Pearl.
In a series of tweets, the US state department said we are deeply concerned by the reports of the December 24 ruling of Sindh High Court to release multiple terrorists responsible for the murder of Daniel Pearl. We have been assured that the accused have not been released at this time.
"We understand that this case is ongoing and will be following closely. We continue to stand with the Pearl family through this extremely difficult process. We continue to honor Daniel Pearl's legacy as a courageous journalist," the state department said in another tweet.
On Thursday a Pakistan court ordered the immediate release Omar Sheikh, one of the three terrorists freed by India in 1999 in exchange for the passengers of the hijacked airliner.
The court declared his detention in connection with the abduction and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl null and void. The Sindh court said that the detention orders for Sheikh and three other accused in the case were null and void.
The court however said that their names should be put on a no-fly list so that they cannot leave Pakistan. "These men have been rotting in jail for 18 years without committing any crime," the court observed.
In April the high court had heard the appeals of Sheikh, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib, 18 years after they were sentenced and acquitted Sheikh, Saqib and Naseem.
The court committed Sheikh's death sentence to seven years in prison. Sheikh has spent 18 years in jail and his seven year sentence for kidnaping was counted as time already served. However the federal government issued a preventive detention order for a period of 90 days under which the four men continued to remain in custody.
The first notification was issued on the day the four were acquitted and the second three months after they completed their initial detention period. In the past the federal government has opposed the release of Sheikh and others.