Daniel Pearl murder case: SHC issues notices on contempt petition

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday issued notices to the provincial chief secretary and some others in a contempt petition regarding the detention of the accused persons in the case of slain American journalist Daniel Pearl.
A bench of the court had declared the notification regarding detention of four accused persons in the case, Ahmed Omer Saeed Shaikh, Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil, as null and void and ordered their immediate release from the jail.
A contempt petition was filed against the provincial chief secretary, jail officials and some others over the government’s failure to comply with the court orders.
The court issued notices to the chief secretary, additional chief secretary and jail officials over the contempt petition and sought reply from them by January 7.
“Why the accused persons were not released as per the court orders?” the bench asked the Sindh advocate general. “Issue a notice. We will submit a written reply over the matter,” the advocate general replied.
While declaring the notification as void, the bench had also ordered to put the names of accused persons in the exit control list (ECL). The court had observed that the accused persons were in jail for last 18 years and ordered the accused persons to appear as and when the court summons them after their release.
Earlier, the four accused had moved to the SHC and challenged their convictions, handed down by the Hyderabad Anti-Terrorism Court in 2002 after finding them guilty of abducting and killing the American journalist. The ATC had handed death sentence to main accused Omer Saeed and life sentences to other three accused persons.
The high court had heard the appeals and overturned the verdict of the ATC by acquitting the convicts on April 2 this year.
The Sindh government and the family of Pearl then filed appeals against the court’s verdict in Supreme Court (SC), where the case is under hearing.
The 38-year-old Pearl was researching a story on religious extremists here in January 2002, when he was abducted and killed.

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