A Pakistani high court on Thursday commuted the death sentence of UK-born Ahmed Omar Sheikh, the prime accused in the United States journalist Daniel Pearl's 2002 abduction and murder to seven years in jail and freed three others in the case.
"The court has commuted Omar's death sentence to a seven-year sentence", Khawaja Naveed, the defence lawyer told Reuters by telephone.
A Sindh prosecutor said he would consider appealing against the court's decision.
A videotape received by USA diplomats confirmed that Pearl, 38, was dead.
The deputy prosecutor-general, Saleem Akhtar, however, had supported the anti-terrorism court's judgment and submitted that the prosecution had proved its case against the appellants beyond any shadow of a doubt while requesting the court to dismiss the appeals.
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Sheik was born in Britain and enjoyed a privileged upbringing before going to study at the London School of Economics.
The defendants were also collectively fined $32,000. He had been beheaded.
An American psychologist who talked to Mohammed said he had confessed to beheading Pearl, according to AFP. Marianne Pearl gave birth to their son Adam in May 2002.
In January 2011, a report released by the Pearl Project at Georgetown University following an investigation into his death revealed that the wrong men were convicted for Pearl's murder.
He had been researching Islamist militant activity in Karachi in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. Mohammad is a prisoner at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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Pearl, 38, disappeared in Karachi, the capital of Pakistan, on January 23 of the same year.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents traced the emails to Saeed, who admitted his role in the kidnapping during his first court appearance but later recanted. The statement was ruled inadmissible because it was not made under oath.
Sheikh was arrested in India in the 1990s for his involvement in the kidnapping of western tourists in 1994.
He was one of three men released from an Indian prison after militants hijacked an Indian airliner in late 1999 and flew it to Afghanistan, where the then-ruling Taliban regime helped negotiate an exchange. A grenade attack against a Protestant church in Islamabad on March 17 killed five people, including two Americans and the attacker.
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