Omar & others freed, shifted to Karachi jail rooms


KARACHI: Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and others, accused of killing American journalist Daniel Pearl, were set free from a Karachis prison on Sunday but were shifted to newly-built rooms within the boundary of the Central Jail.

Omar Sheikh and others were acquitted in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the murder case.

According to an order issued by the Sindh Home Department, freed Omar Sheikh and others will be kept at the newly-built room although the apex court had ordered to shift them to a governments rest house.

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh

At the new facility, Omar Sheikh and others will not be allowed the use of mobile phones and the internet. However, they can meet their family members on daily basis.

As per the Home Departments order, there are five rooms also reserved at a governments rest house for the family members of detained Omar Sheikh and others.

Omar Sheikh who was convicted of the murder by a lower court was acquitted by the Supreme Court last week. After international outrage, federal and provincial governments opposed Omar Sheikh’s release. Pearl’s family has filed an appeal against Sheikh’s acquittal.

“He should be moved to a comfortable environment… to a good rest house where he can live a normal life,” Justice Umar Ata Bandial of the Supreme Court said in the ruling, adding that Sheikh should be confined to quarters, but his family allowed to visit.

While the secure government accommodation is being arranged, Sheikh should be moved from his death row cell to an ordinary jail block, the judge said.

Sheikh, 47, who once studied at the London School of Economics and had been involved in previous kidnappings of foreigners, was arrested days after Pearl’s abduction. He was later sentenced to death after telling a Karachi court that Pearl had been killed days before a gruesome video of the journalist’s beheading had been released. Three other men convicted of the murder were also acquitted.

Daniel Pearl was South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted and beheaded by militants in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about extremists.