SHC commutes Ahmed Umar Sheikh’s death sentence to seven years, acquits 3 accomplices
KARACHI (92 News) – The Sindh High Court (SHC) converted the death sentence of British national Ahmed Umar Sheikh’s death sentence into seven years and acquitted his three accomplices in the kidnap and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl on Thursday.
The bench comprising of Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha and Justice Zulfiqar Sangi had reserved the verdict on the appeals of the accused against their conviction.
On July 15, 2002, an anti-terrorism court had Umar Sheikh sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing the journalist and his accomplices Fahad Saleem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Muhammad Adil were sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs500,000 each.
Pearl, a US national and the South Asian bureau chief of American publication The Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped on January 23, 2002, in Karachi and later beheaded by his captors when their demands regarding his release were not met.
Rai Bashir and Khawaja Naveed Ahmed, the counsel for the accused, had submitted that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt against the accused as Ahmed had neither aided, abetted, participated in the alleged crime nor had he made any conspiracy for kidnapping for ransom after which the US journalist was murdered.
The appeals of the convicts were pending with the SHC since 2002.