Sindh govt extends detention of four persons linked to murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl till Sep 30

Updated 02 Jul 2020

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The order of detention has been issued under Section 11-EE of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. It empowers the government “to arrest or detain suspected persons.” — AP/File
The order of detention has been issued under Section 11-EE of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. It empowers the government “to arrest or detain suspected persons.” — AP/File

The Sindh government on Thursday issued an order to detain four persons convicted in the kidnapping and killing of a US journalist, whose sentences were overturned by the Sindh High Court (SHC), earlier in April.

Two officials in Central Prison Karachi and the Sindh Home Department, which issued the order, told Dawn.com, while speaking on condition of anonymity, that a British Pakistani citizen, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, as well as the co-accused, Fahad Naseem, Sheikh Adil and Salman Saqib, will be detained at the prison till September 30.

The move comes days after the Supreme Court paved the way for Sheikh's release by rejecting a government request for an immediate hearing of an appeal against his acquittal in the 2002 murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl.

Superintendent of Karachi Central Prison, Hasan Sehtoo, told AP that the four men will remain in custody until September 30 under a law that allows authorities to detain any suspect for up to one year. He quoted the order as saying that the men’s release would threaten public safety.

The order of detention has been issued under Section 11-EE of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. It empowers the government “to arrest or detain suspected persons.”

Saeed’s lawyer, Mahmood Sheikh, said he was not aware of an extension of his client’s detention. Under an earlier court order, the appeal against the man’s acquittal will be heard on September 25.

Saeed was found guilty of murder and kidnapping in the 2002 death of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and sentenced to death.

In April, the SHC overturned his murder conviction and sentenced him to seven years for the kidnapping. He has already spent 18 years in prison on death row and his seven-year sentence for kidnapping was counted as time served.

Pearl’s parents have also filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, challenging the lower court’s ruling. Pearl disappeared on January 23, 2002 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who became known as the “shoe bomber” after he was arrested on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes.

A videotape received by US diplomats in February 2002 confirmed that Pearl, 38, was dead. He had been beheaded.