He was acquitted of murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl
Authorities in Karachi have sent Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born militant acquitted of murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl, to his native city of Lahore, a Karachi Central Prison official confirmed Thursday.
“He left the Karachi prison at around 5:00pm,” said Sheikh Aslam, the brother of another man who too was acquitted in the Pearl murder case. Sheikh would be traveling to Lahore on a plane, Aslam added.
Sheikh would be taken to a rest house within the premises of Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, an official at the Punjab advocate general’s office said. He requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.
“The rest house is used by jail officials and he is being shifted there for his own safety,” the official said.
His transfer was confirmed by his lawyer as well. “That’s correct,” Sheikh’s lawyer Mahmood A Sheikh told SAMAA Digital. But, he added, the authorities have not informed his family about where he would be kept.
“The Supreme Court order says he should be kept at a house,” his lawyer said.
Sheikh’s transfer to Lahore was approved by the Supreme Court last month. His family moved the court to order his transfer to Lahore where they reside.
Last year, the Sindh High Court had acquitted the 47-year-old of murder and reduced his conviction to a lesser charge of kidnapping, overturning his death sentence and ordering him be freed after almost two decades in prison.
The government had filed an appeal against his release in the Supreme Court but the apex court upheld SHC verdict, ordering his release if he was not wanted in any other case.
Later, the authorities had shifted him from his death cell to a rest house inside the Karachi Central Prison.
Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching links between militants in Pakistan and Richard C Reid, who is also known as the ‘shoe bomber’ for trying to detonate a shoe bomb while on a flight from Paris to Miami in 2001.
Pearl’s wife Mariane Pearl, a US national who was living in Karachi’s Zamzama, wrote a letter to the Artillery Maidan police on February 2, 2002, saying that her husband had been missing since January 23, 2002.
She said she had received an email from the abductors saying that he had been abducted “in retaliation for the imprisonment of Pakistani men by the US government in Cuba and other complaints”.
A graphic video showing Pearl’s decapitation was delivered to the US consulate in Karachi nearly a month after he was kidnapped.