Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned for two weeks the appeals hearing against the acquittal of British-born al-Qaeda leader Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and his three aides in the abduction and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
Faisal Saddiqi, a lawyer for the Pearl family, told the media that the top court postponed the hearing because the chief prosecutor failed to show up following a death in the family.
The court fixed the next hearing on September 29.
Pearl, the 38-year-old South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, was abducted and beheaded while he was in Pakistan investigating a story in 2002 on the alleged links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.
On April 2, a two-judge Sindh High Court bench overturned the death sentence of 46-year-old al-Qaeda leader, who was convicted in the abduction and murder of Pearl in 2002. He has been in jail for the past 18 years.
The court also acquitted his three aides - Fahad Naseem, Salman Saqib and Sheikh Adil- serving life sentences in the case.
Two days after the Sindh High Court overturned Sheikh's conviction, the Sindh government invoked the Maintenance of Public Order to keep the four convicts in jail.
The province filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against their acquittal. Pearl's parents also filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgment of the high court to release the accused.
Unless the apex court overturned the high court judgment, Sheikh would walk free as he already served 18 years behind the bars which is more than life time imprisonment in Pakistan which runs for 14 years.
Image credit: AP