Daniel Pearl was a Wall Street Journal reporter who was brutally beheaded in 2002 by Islamic terrorists in Pakistan.
He was kidnapped, humiliated and then butchered on film.
Now the terrorist convicted of the murder has had his conviction overturned and released of the charges. He will soon be able to walk free.
Omar Sheikh has been in jail for more than 18 years for the crime but Pakistan’s Supreme Court has now ruled that he’s not legally liable for the murder or kidnapping.
US Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this ruling is “an affront to terrorism victims everywhere” and that the US is still fully “committed to securing justice for Daniel Pearl’s family.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that the US will do what’s necessary to hold the terrorists accountable, expressing outrage at the Pakistani court’s decision.
I am appalled by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to free 4 individuals convicted of murdering @WSJ journalist #DanielPearl. This brutal crime, documented by the killers themselves, warrants more than just 18 years of prison time. His family deserves justice.
— U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (@SenateForeign) January 28, 2021
The Pearl Case
As WSJ’s South Asia Bureau chief, Pearl was chasing a story in Karachi in 2002 when he was kidnapped and killed. Pearl was partly killed for being Jewish, which he proudly stated prior to his horrific murder.
His family, which has been through unimaginable suffering, has demanded that Pakistan’s Supreme Court bring back the pending death sentence and conviction of Sheikh and the verdict might still face challenges, but as the highest court in the land this is a big win for the terrorists who hold so much power in Pakistan.
It’s no random event that Osama bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan or that many of the terrorists in Afghanistan who have harmed our troops come from Pakistan.
The country is a deeply corrupt and unfair place where Christians are regularly falsely accused of blasphemy, which has a death penalty. Christians are also randomly attacked by Muslim Pakistanis and have their houses burned and daughters stolen and sold into forced marriage where they are also forced to convert to Islam.
‘This is an Infuriating and Unjust Decision’
WSJ editor-in-chief Matt Murray said the decision is completely bogus and awful.
“This is an infuriating and unjust decision,” Murray said. “We’ll continue to support efforts to hold to account those responsible for the brutal murder of Danny.”
American authorities say they are certain that Sheikh was involved in kidnapping and murdering Pearl and are asking Pakistan to keep him in jail. He was previously dropped of murder conviction by a lower court, but kept the kidnapping conviction. Now Sheikh has been cleared of all charges.
Whether Pakistan listens or not to US demands to keep Sheikh in jail will be a major stress test for how things are going to go with the Biden Administration on foreign relations and its ability to exert pressure on foreign adversaries.
The FBI helped investigate Pearl’s killing and Sheikh was eventually convicted and given the death sentence along with three other people who were convicted of assisting him. He’s now been in jail 18 years waiting on that death sentence. Apparently it’s easy in Pakistan to kill people who supposedly insult the national religion, but not so easy to kill a terrorist monster.
Sheikh was studying in London, UK in the 1990s but traveled to Pakistan and joined up with terrorists where he also then went on to kidnap Westerners in India. Sheikh’s family says he’s innocent and his whole life has been ruined by the process which has ignored the lack of evidence and convicted him anyway.
Officially, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the one who confessed to killing Pearl. He was arrested in 2003 in Pakistan and later taken to Guantanamo Bay detention facility, although he’s never been formally charged.