US says it won’t allow Daniel Pearl murder suspect to evade justice

The US warns it won’t allow a Pakistani man who was convicted and later acquitted in the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl to evade justice after a provincial court in Pakistan ordered his release.

The warning from acting US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen comes days after the Sindh High Court in Pakistan’s south overturned a government detention order that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, should remain in custody.

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s abduction, arrives at a court in Karachi, Pakistan, on March 29, 2002. (AP Photo/Zia Mazhar, file)

Sheikh was convicted for his role in helping lure Pearl in January 2002 to a meeting in the city of Karachi, during which he was kidnapped. Pearl, 38, was killed the next month. He had been investigating the link between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, dubbed the “Shoe Bomber” after trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes. A gruesome video of Pearl’s beheading was sent to the US Consulate.

Sheikh, who was on death row for 18 years, was acquitted earlier this year of murdering the Wall Street Journal reporter from Encino, California. But he has been held while Pearl’s family appeals.

— AP