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Pakistani Court Orders Release Of Man Charged In Murder Of Daniel Pearl

Daniel Pearl was murdered in Pakistan in 2002.
Daniel Pearl was murdered in Pakistan in 2002.

A provincial court in Pakistan has ordered the man charged in the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl freed, his lawyer said.

The Sindh High Court's order overturns an earlier decision that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh should remain in custody.

The court asked the government to place the names of Omar Sheikh, and three others charged in the case, on a no-fly list, according to a statement sent to RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal.

Sheikh was acquitted of murdering Pearl earlier this year, but has been held while Pearl's family appeals the acquittal. The acquittal is being appealed separately by Pakistan’s government, which has said his release would endanger the public.

Sheikh’s lawyer, Mehmood A. Sheikh, called for his immediate release.

The Supreme Court will resume its hearing on January 5.

British-born Sheikh, a former student at the London School of Economics, was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court, while three other defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Pearl, 38, was The Wall Street Journal's South Asia bureau chief when he was abducted and beheaded in Karachi in 2002, while researching a story about Islamist militants.

A video showing Pearl's decapitation was delivered to the U.S. Consulate in Karachi nearly a month later.

In January 2011, a report released by the Pearl Project, an investigative journalism team at Georgetown University in Washington, claimed that the wrong men were convicted for Pearl's murder.

The investigation claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and is being held in the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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