Pakistani court orders release of man accused of murdering Daniel Pearl

However, Siddiqi said that the Sindh provincial government is appealing the order to release Sheikh.

The US State Department, in a series of tweets, said it was “deeply concerned” about the court order.

“We are deeply concerned by the reports of the December 24 decision by the Sindh High Court to release several terrorists responsible for the murder of Daniel Pearl,” the department tweeted. “We were assured that the accused were not released at this time.”

The sheikh’s lawyer, Mehmood A. Sheikh, with whom he is not related, asked for the immediate release of his client, but there was no indication from the authorities when this could happen.

The court order, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press, said that the provincial government’s arrest orders were illegal and that neither the provincial nor the federal government had reason to keep Sheikh or three others, also accused of the murder. Pearl, behind bars.

Sheik was sentenced to death and the others to life imprisonment for his role in the plot. But in April, the Sindh Supreme Court acquitted them, a move that surprised the US government, Pearl’s family and journalism groups.

The acquittal is now being appealed separately by the Pakistani government and Pearl’s family. The government opposed Sheikh’s release, saying it would put the public at risk. The Supreme Court will resume its hearing on January 5.

Siddiqi, the lawyer for the Pearl family, said he expected the appeal to be decided by the Supreme Court by the end of January.

Sheikh was convicted of helping to lure Pearl into a meeting in the southern Pakistan port city of Karachi, at which he was abducted. Pearl was investigating the connection between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, nicknamed “Shoe Bomber” after trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.

A horrible video of Pearl’s beheading was sent to the United States Consulate. The 38-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter from Encino, California, was kidnapped on January 23, 2002.

In Sheikh’s original trial, emails between Sheikh and Pearl presented in court showed that Sheikh gained Pearl’s trust by sharing his experiences while they both waited for the birth of their first child. Pearl’s wife, Marianne Pearl, gave birth to a son, Adam, in May 2002.

The evidence presented to the court accuses the Sheikh of luring Pearl to his death, giving the American journalist a false sense of security by promising to introduce him to a cleric with links to militants.