SHC order of acquittal in Daniel Pearl murder case challenged in SC
The Sindh government challenged the decision of Sindh High Court in the assassination of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
On Wednesday, Sindh Procurator General Dr Fiaz Shah filed a petition in the Supreme Court.
On April 2, the Sindh High Court overturned the death penalty for Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born militant who had been convicted in the 2002 trial. His sentence was commuted to seven years, and he paid a fine of Rs 2,000,000.
Three defendants were acquitted, namely Adil Sheikh, Salman Saqib and Fahad Nasim. They’d been sentenced to life imprisonment beforehand.
The petition notes that the defendants had confessed to the crime before a presiding judge of an anti-terrorism court in Karachi and that “the acquittal and alteration of the sentence by the impugned judgment is untenable and is liable to be set aside.”
The court caused a “serious miscarriage of justice”, it says, adding that the court has “erred in dealing with the legal question of burden of proof as the prosecution had safely discharged the burden to prove the guilt of the accused men”.
It adds, “the Honourable High Court failed to appreciate that there was “overwhelming incriminating evidence on record against the respondents/accused connecting them to the offences with which they were charged”.
The petitioner has asked the top court to “concede leave to appeal” against the judgment of the Sindh High Court.
The petition states that on February 2, 2002, Mariane Pearl, a U.S. national living in Karachi’s Zamzama, wrote a letter to Maidan Artillery Police, claiming her husband had disappeared on January 23, 2002. She said she got an email from the abductors claiming he was abducted “in revenge for the US government’s imprisonment of Pakistani men in Cuba and other grievances.”
After this, the prosecution filed a lawsuit against the defendants and produced 23 witnesses in the trial. Both of them were sentenced on 15 July 2002.