Pakistan court overturns conviction in death of Daniel Pearl

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A Pakistani court on Thursday overturned the murder conviction of a British Pakistani man found guilty of the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Instead, the court found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Pearl disappeared Jan. 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. Prosecutors said Saeed lured Pearl into a trap by promising to arrange an interview with an Islamic cleric who police believed was not involved in the conspiracy.

One of Saeed’s lawyers, Khwaja Naveed, said Saeed could go free unless the government chooses to challenge the court decision. Faiz Shah, prosecutor general for southern Sindh province, said the government will appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement expressing disappointment at the court decision and supporting an appeal.

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