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Thursday, 28 January 2021
Pakistan's top court orders immediate release of UK-born jihadi involved in murder of Daniel Pearl
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From the Telegraph

The Home Office should cancel the citizenship of a UK-born militant acquitted in Pakistan of killing an American reporter, to prevent his return to Britain, a think tank has said.

Pakistan's supreme court on Thursday ordered the immediate release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh after dismissing appeals to reinstate his conviction for killing Daniel Pearl.

The family of the Wall Street Journal bureau chief decried the decision as a travesty and the ruling is expected to be condemned by Washington.

Sheikh spent 18 years on death row after being convicted of the murder of Mr Pearl, until Sindh High Court last year quashed his conviction because of discrepancies in the original prosecution case.

Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society foreign policy think tank, said: “Sheikh is amongst the most dangerous terrorist militants anywhere across the world - so many global plots had a link to him. As a British citizen with ties to Wanstead, Sheikh has, of now, the right to board a plan straight to London where he can continue his lifelong crusade. The Home Secretary must immediately strip Sheikh of his citizenship.  The consequences of allowing this man to return to the UK are too dangerous to contemplate.”

I know Wanstead. It used to be a nice class district one side on the edge of Epping Forest the other against the Jewish East End diaspora of Gants Hill, where the working class districts of East London/Essex became suburban Essex.  I gather it isn't quite so desirable these days. But where is?

A three-judge bench upheld the acquittal of Sheikh and three accomplices, ordering them to be released “forthwith”.

Mr Pearl was kidnapped and then beheaded while reporting in Karachi on militant networks in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The reporter had been investigating the link between Pakistani militants and Richard Reid, dubbed the "Shoe Bomber" after trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes. Sheikh's trial heard he had been in contact with Mr Pearl and promised to introduce the reporter to a religious leader in Karachi. Mr Pearl was instead kidnapped at a rendezvous outside a restaurant and held in a compound on the city's outskirts. 

Sheikh was born in the UK and went to a private school before studying at the London School of Economics where he is believed to have become radicalised. He later went to South Asia and linked up with Pakistani militant groups. He was jailed in India in 1994 for helping to kidnap three Britons and an American in India and five years later released as part of a hostage swap with Pakistani militants who had hijacked an Indian airliner.

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Posted on 01/28/2021 1:39 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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