Daniel Pearl: Pakistan overturns convicted man’s death sentence

Pakistan has overturned the death sentence of the man convicted of killing US journalist Daniel Pearl, defence lawyers have told reporters.

British-born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who has been in prison since 2002, has had his sentence reduced to seven years, said lawyer Khawaja Naveed.

Three other men given life sentences over the killing have been acquitted by the Sindh High Court and released.

Pearl, who worked for the Wall Street Journal, went missing in January 2002.

He had been researching Islamist militant activity in Karachi in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

A month later, authorities said he had been killed after receiving video footage of his beheading.

Sheikh was convicted shortly afterwards by an anti-terrorism court, but there have long been questions over the case.

A group of US journalists, including former colleagues of Pearl, said in 2011 that they believed Sheikh had not carried out the beheading.

The Pearl Project alleged the beheading was carried out by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held in Guantanamo Bay, accused of being behind the 9/11 attacks.

Mr Naveed told Reuters on Thursday that the murder charges had not been proven, so his client’s sentence had been reduced to seven years for the kidnapping.

“Omar has already served 18 years, so his release orders will be issued sometime today. He will be out in a few days,” he said.

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