Pak court orders release of terrorist Omar Sheikh in Daniel Pearl case
Islamabad, Dec 24: A Pakistani court on Thursday 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.