Washington, D.C., January 28, 2021–The Supreme Court of Pakistan today ordered the release of Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was previously convicted in the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl, and acquitted him and three others of the murder charges, according to news reports.
“We are deeply disappointed that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has acquitted and ordered the release of Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh, despite overwhelming evidence of Sheikh’s involvement in the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, which led directly to his murder,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Daniel Pearl deserves justice and Sheikh deserves to pay for his crime. Journalists everywhere are less safe today due to this decision.”
The Supreme Court decision came despite written evidence presented to the court and signed by Sheikh, in which he confessed to a role in the kidnapping, according to the reports. Sheikh has been in jail for 18 years. On April 2, 2020, the Sindh High Court overturned the convictions of Sheikh and three others involved in the kidnapping and murder, as CPJ reported. The four continued to be held in prison while the Sindh Government and the parents of Pearl lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court, according to the news reports.