Islamabad [Pakistan], April 2 (ANI): The Sindh High Court on Thursday reduced the death sentence awarded to the main accused in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and acquitted three others co-accused in the matter.
At least four people were convicted in connection with Pearl's murder, including Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was sentenced to death in 2002 for masterminding the murder, Dawn reported.
Since Sheikh has been in prison for the past 18 years, his seven-year sentence will be counted from the time served and is expected to be released, said Defence lawyer Khawja Naveed.
While the other three convicts, Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil-- who were earlier handed life sentences -- were set free by the court.
However, the court had not yet issued an order regarding the matter.
After hearing arguments and examining the record and proceedings of the case, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha had announced the verdict on the appeals filed by the convicts 18 years ago.
But this time, the Sindh High Court further dismissed an appeal of the state seeking enhancement of life term of the other three co-accused in the case.
Pearl, 38, was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about religious extremists in Karachi.
A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate in the city nearly a month later. Omar Sheikh was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to death by an anti-terror court.
In January 2011, a report released by the Pearl Project at Georgetown University following an investigation into his death made chilling revelations, claiming that the wrong men were convicted for Pearl's murder.
The investigation, led by Pearl's friend and former Wall Street Journal colleague Asra Nomani and a Georgetown University professor, claimed the reporter was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of September 11, 2001, attacks, not Omar Sheikh.
Mohammed, better known as KSM, was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and is being held in Guantanamo Bay. A US psychologist who interviewed KSM said the prisoner had told him that he had beheaded Pearl.(ANI)