The United States Justice Department has said that Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, the accused in the abduction and murder of Daniel Pearl, must not be permitted to evade justice
“We are deeply concerned by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the acquittal of individuals convicted by a Pakistani trial court for the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl. Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh has long been indicted in the United States and must be held accountable for his crimes,” Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson said.
“He must not be permitted to evade justice for his charged role in Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder,” he added.
Slamming the Pakistani court’s decision to acquit Omar Sheikh, State Secretary Antony Blinken said that Washington is ready to prosecute Sheikh in the United States for his horrific crimes against an American citizen.
“We expect the Pakistani government to expeditiously review its legal options to ensure justice is served. We are also prepared to prosecute Sheikh in the United States for his horrific crimes against an American citizen,” Blinken was quoted as saying in a release by the US State Department.
“Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh was indicted in the United States in 2002 for hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit hostage-taking, resulting in the murder of Pearl, the South Asia Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal, as well as the 1994 kidnapping of another United States citizen in India,” the statement added.
Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US is outraged with Omar Saeed Sheikh’s acquittal.
“The United States is outraged by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the acquittals of those responsible for Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and brutal murder, which shocked the world’s conscience in 2002,” Psaki told reporters.
She said that this decision to exonerate and release, Sheikh and the other suspects and enough is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere, including in Pakistan.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the release of the man convicted in 2002 of orchestrating the abduction and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl after effectively clearing him of wrongdoing in the case. A three-judge panel upheld a lower-court ruling that overturned terrorism and murder convictions for Omar Sheikh, who has spent more than 18 years in prison for the crimes.