The four men convicted—and freed and rearrested earlier this year—in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal Jewish reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan will remain behind bars for another three months, ruled Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday.
“The court delayed until next week hearing the appeal over the lower-court acquittal of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been on death row since his conviction in 2002 over Pearl’s killing,” reported The Associated Press.
The court will decide next week whether Sheikh will remain in prison during the appeal, which could take years, the lawyer for Pearl’s family, Faisal Siddiqi, told the AP on Monday.
In April, Sheikh, along with Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib, was rearrested after their convictions were overturned. The interior ministry at the time said that they would remain behind bars “for a period of three months pending filing of the appeal.”
In June, the Supreme Court refused to suspend a lower court’s ruling freeing Sheikh and declined to hear the Pakistani government’s appeal immediately, instead scheduling it for later in the year.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson told JNS at the time, “There must be justice for Daniel’s kidnapping and murder, and the United States stands with the Pearl family during this arduous and painful process.”
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomed the decision by Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
“The proceedings will determine whether or not this individual is to remain on death row after his acquittal by a lower Pakistani court in April,” said the umbrella organization of Jewish and pro-Israel groups in a statement. “This killer should be behind bars for the rest of his days; anything less would be a painful insult to the Pearl family. They have suffered enough in the years since this atrocity occurred.”
Jonah Cohen of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) told JNS, “While we are happy to hear that Daniel’s killer will remain in jail, we must remember that it’s only for another three months because the government prosecutor requested more time to organize paperwork. It’s too early, then, to applaud the court. Pakistan’s judicial system may still allow this deranged murderer back on the streets.”