Reporters Without Borders: Pakistani court ruling is “incoherent” and a “shocking denial of justice.” … “It recognizes Sheikh’s guilt while in effect overturning his conviction.”
On February 1, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was executed after having been kidnapped in Pakistan.
On February 1, 2017, I wrote Daniel Pearl was murdered 15 years ago today:
In my memory, there are certain place markers in the history of terrorism that led to where we are today.
The 1972 Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes (1972); the bombing of the Beirut Marine Barracks (1983), the World Trade Center attacks (1993 and 2001); the Jerusalem Sbarro Pizza bombing (2001) and the videotaped beheading of Daniel Pearl, February 1, 2002.
I don’t diminish the significance and horror of other attacks, it’s just that these are memory reference points for me.
The details of the murder were particularly horrific, one of the first ‘made-for-video’ snuff films. As noted in my prior post, this article from The Telegraph in May 2004 relates some of the basic details, Daniel Pearl ‘refused to be sedated before his throat was cut’. You can read the details there.
Pearl’s last words are among the most memorable:
What became known only in the months and years following his gruesome execution was that Pearl’s kidnappers, a local group led by Omar Saeed Sheikh, had turned him over to Al-Qaida, specifically to 9/11 mastermind Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who in the course of 183 waterboarding torture sessions at Guantanamo confessed to having slit Pearl’s throat.
In a video released on February 21, 2002 and titled “The Slaughter of the Spy-Journalist, the Jew Daniel Pearl,” Pearl addresses the camera in the moments before his death: “My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish,” he said, adding: “Back in the town of Bnei Brak, there is a street named after my great-grandfather Chaim Pearl, who is one of the founders of the town.” He remained proud and defiant to the end.
One of the murderers, Omar Saeed Sheikh, is about to be set free. The Wall Street Journal reports:
A Pakistani court overturned the 18-year-old murder conviction of a British national for killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and reduced his death sentence to seven years for kidnapping….
The Karachi court, which heard Mr. Sheikh’s appeal last month, overturned convictions for murder and terrorism, the 40-page ruling said Thursday. The third conviction, kidnapping for ransom, was downgraded to simple kidnapping, and Mr. Sheikh’s sentence was reduced to seven years. He has been imprisoned since 2002.
The court found discrepancies in much of the evidence used to convict Mr. Sheikh and others, including questions over who owned a computer from which ransom emails were supposed to have been sent and the circumstances of Mr. Sheikh’s arrest. The court also said it didn’t find any evidence linking Mr. Sheikh or the others to the actual murder.
“There are many missing links in the chain of evidence from the abduction of Pearl to his ultimate murder,” the court ruled.
Three accomplices who were sentenced to life in prison at the same 2002 trial had their convictions completely overturned Thursday.
Faiz Shah, the state prosecutor based in Karachi, told the Journal that an appeal would be filed to the Supreme Court. The authorities will also request a stay order from the Supreme Court that would prevent Mr. Sheikh being freed from jail until that appeal is heard, according to Mr. Shah….
Reporters Without Borders, an international watchdog group for journalists, called the decision “incoherent” and a “shocking denial of justice.”
“It recognizes Sheikh’s guilt while in effect overturning his conviction,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of the group’s Asia division.
Pearl’s father, Judea Pearl, a UCLA professor, tweeted:
It is a mockery of justice. Anyone with a minimal sense of right and wrong now expects Faiz Shah, prosecutor general of Sindh to do his duty and appeal this reprehensible decision to the Supreme Court of Pakistan
It is a mockery of justice. Anyone with a minimal sense of right and wrong now expects Faiz Shah, prosecutor general of Sindh to do his duty and appeal this reprehensible decision to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. https://t.co/he8ZXrYAks
— Judea Pearl (@yudapearl) April 2, 2020
Pakistan hasn’t changed.
If you read one thing today, read this thread from @thomasjoscelyn on Pakistan’s overturning the murder conviction of Imar Saeed Sheikh, who kidnapped and beheaded @WSJ reporter Daniel Pearl. Pakistan will never change its role as a state sponsor of terrorism. https://t.co/RhU67s0Kze
— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) April 2, 2020
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