Pearl's family to appeal against freeing convicts

Pearl's family to appeal against freeing men convicted of his murder

Sheikh Aslam, brother of Sheikh Adil, one of the accused of murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl, speaks with media representatives outside the central prison where British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, convicted of masterminding the kidnap and murder of Pearl, is serving his prison sentence in Karachi. Credit: AFP.

The family of US journalist Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan in 2001, plans to appeal to Pakistan's Supreme Court to overturn a decision to free the four men convicted of his murder.

A panel of three judges of the court on Thursday threw out the 2002 murder convictions against the four Islamists, including group's British-born ringleader, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh.

Kidnapping convictions were left in place, but the men were ordered freed as they had already served out sentences for the kidnapping charges.

The Pearl family "intends to file a review petition against the illegal and unjust majority decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan," said a statement issued by the family’s lawyer, Faisal Siddiqui, on Saturday night.

On Friday, Pakistan’s provincial Sindh government also filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to review its decision. A hearing for that appeal has been set for Monday.

The United States has expressed concern over the ruling and new U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for accountability in his first phone call with Pakistan’s foreign minister on Friday.