Three were handed life sentences, and a fourth, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, was awaiting execution. The Karachi court reduced Sheikh’s sentence to seven years for kidnapping following the hearing of an appeal last month.
“We are deeply saddened and outraged by Pakistan’s acquittal of these psychopathic killers. Daniel Pearl’s father is a close friend of ours. He won CAMERA’s courage award last year. Our hope is that the media gives this harrowing injustice the full attention it deserves,” the organization’s communications director, Jonah Cohen, told JNS.
Pearl’s father, Judea Pearl, blasted the Karachi court’s decision.
“It is a mockery of justice,” he tweeted. “Anyone with a minimal sense of right and wrong now expects Faiz Shah, prosecutor general of Sindh to do his duty and appeal this reprehensible decision to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.”
It is unclear if all four will be released immediately. Shah said he would appeal the decision to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. The four men will remain behind bars for at least 90 days due to “public safety,” according to a ruling issued by the Home Department of Sindh province.
“We are outraged by the decision of the Sindh High Court in Karachi, Pakistan to acquit Ahmed Omar Sheikh and three others involved in the barbaric murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl [may his memory be for a blessing] in 2002,” said the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in a statement. “It is unconscionable for these barbaric killers to go free.”
“We urge the U.S. government to press the government in Pakistan to reverse this injustice and hold the murderers of an American citizen to account,” added the Conference.
A Twitter post by the U.S. State Department Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, signed with the initials of Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, read: “The overturning of the convictions for Daniel Pearl’s murder is an affront to victims of terrorism everywhere. We welcome Pakistan’s decision to appeal the verdict. Those responsible for Daniel’s heinous kidnapping and murder must face the full measure of justice.”
“I find this action of a court filled with Muslim judges releasing Muslim murderers of a Jew to be nothing less than evil barbarism and grotesque Jew-hatred,” Zionist Organization of America president Mort Klein told JNS. “Polls have shown that well over half the Muslims in that part of the world to be anti-Semitic.”
“This court has just lent more validity to those polls,” he continued. “And the leaders of Pakistan and world and religious leaders are deafeningly silent.”
“The Pakistani court’s decision to free four men found guilty in Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s murder is an insult to victims of terrorism everywhere,” B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel Mariaschin told JNS. “We call for an immediate reversal of this outrageous verdict.”