The Sindh High Court approved on Thursday appeals against the death sentences given to four men in the Daniel Pearl murder case.
Main accused Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh’s death sentence was commuted to a seven-year imprisonment while the other three — Fahad Naseem, Sheik Adil and Salman Saqib — have been released.
A bench of two judges, headed by the judge Karim Khan Agha, had reserved judgment the previous month on the appeal of the convicts, which was pending for 18 years.
Pearl was a journalist at the Wall Street Journal, he went missing in January 2002.
He was investigating Islamist militant activity in Karachi after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.
A month passed and authorities claimed he had been killed after receiving a video of his beheading.
An anti-terrorism court had on July 15, 2002 sentenced Omar to death and gave life sentences to the other three for kidnapping and murdering the journalist. There have been multiple questions about the case, however.
The court observed that as there was proof that Omar did abduct the American journalist, there was no evidence proving he murdered him.
Lawyer Khawaja Naveed told Reuters on Thursday that there was no proof of the murder therefore the client’s sentence had been reduced to seven years.