The family of slain American journalist Daniel Pearl is furious about the decision to release his killers from prison in Pakistan. Last Thursday a three judge appeals court in the country issued a ruling in a two to one vote overturning the convictions of Pearl’s four killers including their British-born leader, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh.
The decision was, in actuality, a denial of an appeal made of a lower court’s ruling. A lower court had overturned the killers’ convictions on appeal.
Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded by terrorists in 2001, not long after the 9/11 attacks. The 38 year old journalist was investigating terror groups in Karachi, Pakistan, at the time. The terrorists released a video of the barbaric beheading.
“Today’s decision is a complete travesty of justice and the release of these killers puts in danger journalists everywhere and the people of Pakistan,” the Pearl family said in a statement released by their lawyer.
The Pearl family’s lawyer, Faisal Siddiqi, told Reuters that the court decision was a travesty of justice. “No amount of injustice will defeat our resolve to fight for justice for Daniel Pearl,” he said.
The new Biden administration has also taken notice. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly expressed his dismay with the ruling in a phone call with his Pakistani counterpart. Blinken called this, “an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including in Pakistan.”
Monty Wilkinson, the acting U.S. attorney general, issued a statement criticizing the men’s’ release, saying that American officials were “deeply concerned” by it.
“The release of those involved would be an affront to Daniel Pearl’s family, to other terrorism victims around the world, and to the cause of justice,” he said.
The American government has expressed a desire to push for the extradition of the killers so that they can be tried for their crimes in the United States.
Pakistan’s government has also appealed the court’s ruling.