Pakistan overturns murder conviction for man in Daniel Pearl slaying

Court commutes Daniel Pearl murderer’s death sentence to seven-year imprisonment

A Pakistani court Thursday overturned the murder conviction of a British Pakistani man found guilty of the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

A lawyer for the militant, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, said his client's sentence had been reduced to seven years in prison for the charge of kidnapping, according to Agence France-Presse. It was expected that the seven-year sentence will be counted as time served, said Naveed.

British national Omer Sheikh had been sentenced to death for kidnapping and killing Daniel Pearl by a court in 2002, and his three accomplices - Fahad Naseem, Syed Salman Saqib and Sheikh Mohammad Adil - were sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs500,000 each.

Saeed has already spent 18 years in prison on death row. "He will be out in a few days", Naveed said.

A videotape received by USA diplomats in February confirmed that Pearl, 38, was dead. Video emerged a few weeks later of his murder.

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

A two-member bench of the high court of Sindh province issued the order in the city of Karachi on Thursday, Naveed said.

Judea Pearl, an Israeli-American philosopher and Daniel's father, tweeted that the court ruling was a "mockery of justice" and implored the prosecutor general to appeal. It was not immediately clear when they might be released.

Sheikh, who was born in Britain and studied at the London School of Economics, was arrested in India in the 1990s for his involvement in the kidnapping of western tourists in 1994.

The Journal reported that the defense team challenged the evidence presented in court used to convict Saeed and three other men in connection with Pearl's abduction and murder.

The 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 Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, not Sheikh.

Indian police later linked Sheikh to the September 11 attacks on the United States, accusing him of involvement in transferring $100,000 to Mohammad Atta, one of the militants who flew airliners into New York's World Trade Center.

He's now being held at Guantanamo Bay detention camp on terrorism-related charges.

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