The Sindh Government has halted the release of Omar Saeed Sheikh and three others in US journalist Daniel Pearl Murder Case.
According to media reports, Pakistan’s Sindh province government decided not to release the accused and his three aides, in view of a Supreme Court order. The decision came just three days after the detention of Omar Saeed Sheikh and his aides declared null and void.
In a surprise move on Thursday (last week), a two-judge bench of the Sindh High Court directed security agencies not to keep Omar Saeed Sheikh and other accused under “any sort of detention” and declared all notifications of the Sindh government related to their detention “null and void”. The court observed that the four men’s detention was “illegal”.
The court observed that the accused have been in jail for the last 18 years and ordered the accused to appear as and when the court summons them.
Assistant Attorney General earlier informed the court that the provincial government has the authority to keep an accused in detention.
On April 2, this year, the court heard their appeals against the sentence after 18 years and acquitted Sheikh, Saqib and Nasim.
It commuted Sheikh’s death sentence to seven years and imposed a fine on him. Sheikh has already spent 18 years in prison on death row and his seven-year sentence for kidnapping was counted as time served.
The men were, however, detained under Section 11 EEEE (preventive detention for inquiry) of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The law states that the government may issue preventive detention of any person accused of terrorism for a period of 90 days and it cannot be challenged in court.
Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story on extremists.