The Justice Department is telling the Pakistani government that it wants to take custody and try Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh for the abduction and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl.
That word form acting attorney general Monty Wilkinson came after the Pakistani Supreme Court affirmed the acquittal of all those convicted by a Pakistani trial court of the crime, including the British born Sheikh, who admitted to the killing at his trial in 2002.
Pearl was the Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau chief (and former D.C.-based telecommunications reporter for the paper) who was kidnapped and beheaded in 2002 while covering Islamic extremists in Pakistan.
“Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh has long been indicted in the United States and must be held accountable for his crimes," Wilkinson said in a statement. "The release of those involved would be an affront to Daniel Pearl’s family, to other terrorism victims around the world, and to the cause of justice. While we remain grateful for the Pakistani government’s opposition to these acquittals on appeal, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Department of Justice reiterates that the United States stands ready to take custody of Sheikh to stand trial here on the pending charges against him. He must not be permitted to evade justice for his charged role in Daniel Pearl’s abduction and murder.”
At press time Sheikh had reportedly not yet been released
"[W]e call on the Pakistani government to expeditiously review its legal options, including allowing the United States to prosecute Sheikh for the brutal murder of an American citizen and journalist," said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki when asked about the acquittal. "[W]e're committed to securing justice for Daniel Pearl's family and holding terrorists anywhere accountable for their heinous crimes."
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