The United States said Thursday it was ready to prosecute the Pakistani man accused of killing US journalist Daniel Pearl.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the main suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was ordered released by Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
Pearl, 38, was investigating militants in Karachi after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US when he was kidnapped. A video of his beheading emerged weeks later.
Sheikh and his co-accused are to be released immediately if they are not required in any other case, the head of the court panel, Justice Mushir Alam, said in a court order.
But the US was quick to reprimand the Pakistani court for its decision.
A statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that Sheikh was indicted in the US for hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, as well as the 1994 kidnapping of another American citizen in India.
“The court’s decision is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including in Pakistan,” Blinken said.
I am deeply concerned by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to acquit those involved in Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder. We are committed to securing justice for the Pearl family and holding terrorists accountable.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) January 28, 2021
He also expressed his expectation for the Pakistani government to “expeditiously review its legal options to ensure justice is served.”
Blinken also said that the US was prepared to prosecute Sheikh in the United States. “We are committed to securing justice for Daniel Pearl’s family and holding terrorists accountable.”
- With Reuters