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A portrait of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is seen in London on March 5, 2002. Pearl's family recently filed to uphold the convictions in the journalist's 2002 murder. (Reuters/Ian Waldie)

Family of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl files to uphold convictions in 2002 murder

May 2, 2020 7:25 AM ET

Washington, D.C., May 2, 2020 -- The parents of murdered Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl today filed an appeal to the Pakistani Supreme Court to reverse the April 2 decision of the Sindh High Court that overturned convictions of four men in Pearl’s 2002 kidnapping and murder case, according to copies of court documents posted online. In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:

“The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly supports the Pearl family’s pursuit of justice in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl in Karachi,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The release of Omar Saeed Sheikh and his accomplices would only add to the threats facing journalists in Pakistan and deepen Pakistan’s reputation as a haven for terrorists.”

Two days after the Sindh High Court overturned the four men’s convictions, including that of Omar Saeed Sheikh, the mastermind of the kidnapping, police re-arrested the four men, and said they would hold them for three months, according to news reports. As CPJ documented at the time, the Sindh court ruled that Sheikh was guilty of a lesser charge of abducting Pearl, but not of the more serious charge of kidnapping for ransom. The sentence for that lesser crime, seven years, would likely lead to Sheikh’s release from prison on the basis of time served, according to the reports.

Sindh prosecutors filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the Sindh High Court decision on April 22, and on April 28 asked for an early hearing, according to news reports.