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SHC orders to release suspects in Daniel Pearl case

NGOs Jewish groups outraged at release of Daniel Pearl’s killers

These men have been in rotting in jail for the 18 years without committing any crime, said a judge.

A provincial court in Pakistan ordered the release of a man charged with the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, the latest twist in the court case concerning Pearl's abduction and gruesome killing almost two decades ago.

Even though the Sindh HC has ordered the immediate release of Sheikh, the acquittal is being appealed.

The Sindh Government and the family of Daniel Pearl have filed appeals against the high court verdict in Supreme Court and the case has been under hearing in the apex court.

"The court has set aside the detention orders", his lawyer Khawaja Naveed told DPA news agency.

After their acquittal on charges of murder by the high court in April, the provincial government had placed them under 90-day detention under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) Ordinance.

The 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Pearl, was researching a story on religious extremists, in January 2002 in Karachi, when he was abducted and slain.

The court's decision earlier this year to overturn the rulings shocked the US government, journalist advocacy groups and Pearl's family and friends. The court said the orders issued by the civilian authority were null and void.

Later, a graphic video showing Pearl's decapitation was delivered to the U.S. consulate in Karachi almost a month after he was kidnapped.

"We understand that this case is ongoing and will be following closely".

Pearl, a 38-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter, was investigating Islamist militants in Karachi after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States when he was seized by terrorists connected to Al Qaeda.

Days after the abduction, Pearl was beheaded but his dismembered body was not found until May 2002.

The manner of Pearl's death was a portent of how Islamist extremists would use cinematic violence against innocents in subsequent years. It identified Pearl as a Jew and was explicitly anti-Semitic.

The report claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, not Sheikh. The next hearing is expected on January 5.

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

Last month, the Sindh HC had expressed serious resentment over the provincial government's continuous detention of the four men.