Men convicted in Daniel Pearl's murder to be freed in Pakistan

Men convicted in Daniel Pearl's murder to be freed in Pakistan
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Four men convicted in Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder are set to be freed after Pakistan's highest court ordered their release on Thursday.

“By a majority of two to one, they have acquitted all the accused persons and ordered their release,” a provincial advocate general, Salman Talibuddin, told Reuters, although it is unclear if “acquitted” means they were cleared of charges or they finished their sentence.

The decision left the family of the journalist, who was abducted in Pakistan in 2002 while investigating Islamist militants after the 9/11 attacks, “in complete shock,” the family’s lawyer said in a statement obtained by news outlets


Attorney Faisal Siddiq said the decision was a “complete travesty of justice” and directed the U.S. "to take all necessary actions under the law to correct this injustice,” according to the family's statement.

The release order comes after a high court exonerated three of the men and reduced the death penalty of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh to a life sentence, which lasts a maximum of 14 years — an amount he has already served. 

The Supreme Court denied challenges to the acquittals and Pearl’s family’s call for the restoration of the death penalty for Sheikh.

Attackers beheaded Pearl on camera in one of the first extremist hostage propaganda videos, a method later used by other terrorist groups.