The Supreme Court dismissed on Thursday all charges against Omar Sheikh, a British citizen who has spent more than 18 years in prison in Pakistan for the crime.
The judges ordered that Mr. Sheikh be released from jail immediately, if not wanted in any other case. However, Pakistani authorities have prevented Mr. Sheikh from walking free since a lower court ruled in April that he be released.
A lawyer for the government, Faiz Shah, said he was disappointed about Thursday’s outcome and said authorities would challenge the verdict. He said it remains to be seen whether Mr. Sheikh would remain in prison in the meantime.
The U.S. government has said it is willing to intervene in the case, but it isn’t clear how it could do so. Behind the scenes, U.S. officials say they have been pressing Pakistani authorities to keep Mr. Sheikh in prison. Pakistani ministers voiced concern last year about the prospect of Mr. Sheikh’s release.
Mahmood Sheikh, the lawyer for Omar Sheikh, said Pakistan’s laws and constitution don’t allow another country to now put his client on trial.
“Our judiciary has shown it is free of any influence, no matter how strong that person or country may be,” he said.
Mr. Pearl, then the Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, was reporting on militant networks in Pakistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks when he disappeared in the southern city of Karachi. He was killed days later.
Write to Saeed Shah at email@example.com
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8