Appeal opens against acquittal of Briton convicted in Daniel Pearl killing

British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh is surrounded by armed police as he leaves court in Karachi on March 29, 2002. (AP Photo)
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Updated 01 December 2020

Appeal opens against acquittal of Briton convicted in Daniel Pearl killing

  • Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh had been on death row for Daniel Pearl’s murder but was acquitted in April by the Sindh High Court which instead sentenced him to seven years for kidnapping
  • Daniel Pearl was South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about militants

ISLAMABAD: An appeal against the controversial acquittal of a British-born militant convicted of murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl opened at a Pakistani court on Tuesday.

A Karachi court sparked outrage earlier this year when it overturned the 2002 murder conviction of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and acquitted three other men connected to the case.

Pearl’s parents and prosecutors lodged an appeal at Pakistan’s Supreme Court in May, putting the release of the four men on hold.

“The case has finally opened, it will be decided whether they should be convicted or acquitted. The case is heading to a final verdict,” Faisal Siddiqui, the lawyer representing Pearl’s parents, told AFP.

The appeal, which has been frequently postponed in recent months, will hear opening arguments in the capital Islamabad on Wednesday.

Sheikh had been on death row for Pearl’s murder but was acquitted in April by the Sindh High Court which instead sentenced him to seven years for kidnapping — paving the way for him to walk free after already serving 18 years.

Three co-defendants who were serving life sentences in connection to the case were acquitted.

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

A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate nearly a month later.

Pearl’s killing stirred international condemnation of Pakistan’s military government just as it was remaking its image after years of backing the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.


Turkey and Greece resume talks on maritime disputes after five years

Updated 25 January 2021

Turkey and Greece resume talks on maritime disputes after five years

ANKARA: Turkey and Greece resumed talks aimed at addressing long-standing maritime disputes on Monday, diplomatic sources said, after months of tension in the eastern Mediterranean.
The neighboring countries, which are both members of the NATO military alliance, made little progress in 60 rounds of talks from 2002 to 2016.
Plans for resuming discussions foundered last year over Turkey’s deployment of a survey vessel in contested Mediterranean waters and disagreements over which topics to cover.
Ankara and Athens agreed this month to resume talks in Istanbul, in a test of Turkey’s hopes of improving its relations with the European Union, which has supported EU-member Greece and threatened sanctions on Turkey.
Both sides have voiced guarded optimism before the talks, though Ankara and Athens were still trading barbs in the days leading up to Monday’s meetings in Istanbul.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said last week Greece would approach the talks with optimism but “zero naivety.” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped the resumption of talks would herald a new era.
Despite the agreement to resume talks, Athens said on Saturday it would discuss only the demarcation of exclusive economic zones and the continental shelf in the eastern Mediterranean, and not issues of “national sovereignty.”
Ankara has said it wants the talks to cover the same topics as in the first 60 rounds, including the demilitarization of islands in the Aegean and disagreements over air space.
It was not immediately clear what the agenda of the talks was on Monday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a series of talks in Brussels last week to discuss possible future steps to maintain what he called the “positive atmosphere” between Ankara and the EU since the bloc postponed imposing sanctions on Turkey until March at a December summit.