Says he will be taken to a rest house
Prison authorities have shifted Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born militant acquitted of murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl, to a barrack from his death cell inside the Karachi Central Prison, a jail official said Wednesday.
“He was moved to the barrack on the orders of the Supreme Court,” Hassan Sehto, the Karachi Central Jail superintendent, told SAMAA Digital. “He will be shifted to a rest house in Karachi in a day or two.”
Mehmood A Sheikh, Sheikh’s lawyer, said he had no knowledge of the development.
“The family hasn’t gone to Karachi as yet,” the lawyer, when asked if arrangements had been made for Sheikh’s meeting with his family. “Once they shift him, find a suitable place for him, then perhaps.”
Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered on Tuesday the authorities to shift Sheikh to a government safe house and allow him to meet his family members.
Last week, the apex court upheld the Sindh High Court’s decision to overturn Sheikh’s death sentence but the provincial and federal governments are opposing his release. They have filed a review petition in the Supreme Court.
The Pearl family has also filed an appeal against the verdict.
Daniel Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002. He was researching links between Pakistan-based militants and Richard C Reid, who is also known as the ‘shoe bomber’ for trying to detonate a shoe bomb on a flight from Paris to Miami in 2001.
His wife Mariane Pearl, a US national who was living in Karachi’s Zamzama, had informed the police of his disappearance after nearly 10 days on February 2, 2002.
She had received an email from the abductors who said Pearl had been abducted “in retaliation for the imprisonment of Pakistani men by the US government in Cuba and other complaints,” she had told the police.
A graphic video showing Pearl’s decapitation was delivered to the US Consulate in Karachi nearly a month after his kidnapping.
After this, a case was filed against the suspects and the prosecution produced 23 witnesses. Sheikh was arrested by Pakistani security agencies in February 2002 and an anti-terrorism court convicted him and others on July 15, 2002.
An investigation, led by Pearl’s friend and former Wall Street Journal colleague Asra Nomani and a Georgetown University professor, claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, not Sheikh.
Mohammed — better known as KSM — was arrested in Pakistan in 2003. He is currently detained at the Guantanamo Bay.