News Pakistan court orders release of Daniel Pearl murder suspect
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Pakistan court orders release of Daniel Pearl murder suspect

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the alleged mastermind behind reporter Daniel Pearl's kidnap-slaying, appears at the court in Karachi. Photo: AP
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A provincial court in Pakistan has ordered the release of the man charged with the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

Sindh High Court’s release order overturns a decision by Pakistan’s top court that Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the key suspect in Pearl’s killing, should remain in custody.

Mr Sheikh was cleared of murder earlier this year but has been held while Pearl’s family appeals against the acquittal.

Mr Sheikh’s lawyer Mehmood A Sheikh called for his client to be released immediately.

Wall Street Journal South Asia bureau chief Daniel Pearl. Photo: AP/Wall Street Journal

Mr Sheikh was sentenced to death and three others were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the plot, but a lower Pakistani court in April acquitted him and three others, a move that stunned the US government, Pearl’s family and journalism advocacy groups.

The acquittal is being appealed separately by the Pakistan government and Pearl’s family.

The government says Mr Sheikh’s release would endanger the public.

Mr Sheikh had been convicted of helping lure Pearl to a meeting in Karachi in which he was kidnapped.

The journalist had been investigating the link between Pakistani militants and Richard C Reid, dubbed the Shoe Bomber after he tried to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.