The parents of murdered Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl on Saturday filed an appeal with the Pakistani Supreme Court to reverse the April 2 decision of the Sindh High Court which overturned convictions of four men in Pearl’s 2002 kidnapping and murder case.
Pearl was working as the South Asia Bureau Chief of The Wall Street Journal, based in Mumbai, India. He was kidnapped when he went to Pakistan as part of an investigation into the alleged links between British citizen Richard Reid (the “shoe bomber”) and Al-Qaeda. On January 23, 2002, on his way to what he thought was an interview with Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani at the Village Restaurant in downtown Karachi, Pearl was kidnapped by an Islamist group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty.
Nine days later, the terrorists beheaded Pearl. On May 16, his severed head and decomposed body were found cut into ten pieces, and buried, along with an identifying jacket, in a shallow grave at Gadap, some 30 miles north of Karachi.
On March 21, 2002, in Pakistan, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other suspects were charged with murder for their part in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl. They were convicted on July 15, 2002, and Sheikh was sentenced to death. Sheikh appealed his sentence. On April 2, 2020, Sheikh’s murder conviction was overturned by a Pakistani court, and his death sentence was reduced to seven years for his kidnapping conviction, which he had already served.
Daniel’s father, Judah Pearl said in a video statement: “We have filed an appeal of this decision to the Pakistan Supreme Court. We are standing up for justice not only for our son, but for all our dear friends in Pakistan so they can live in a society free of violence and terror and raise their children in peace and harmony.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement saying: “The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly supports the Pearl family’s pursuit of justice in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl in Karachi. The release of Omar Saeed Sheikh and his accomplices would only add to the threats facing journalists in Pakistan and deepen Pakistan’s reputation as a haven for terrorists.”
Two days after the Sindh High Court overturned the convictions, including that of Omar Saeed Sheikh, the mastermind of the kidnapping, police re-arrested the four men, and are holding them for three months—which is down to only two months now.
According to the Pakistani press, Sindh prosecutors filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the Sindh High Court decision on April 22, and on April 28, and asked for an early hearing.