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Pakistan's Supreme Court Upholds Acquittal in Daniel Pearl Murder Case

Daniel 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 links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.

Daniel 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 links between the country's powerful spy agency ISI and al-Qaeda.

The top court's ruling comes after an international outcry erupted last year when a lower court acquitted the 47-year-old of murder and reduced his conviction to a lesser charge of kidnap -- overturning his death sentence and ordering his release after almost two decades in prison.

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a series of appeals against the acquittal of the British-born militant convicted of masterminding the kidnap and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl, paving the way for his release.

"The court has come out to say that there is no offense that he has committed in this case," Mahmood Sheikh, who represented Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, told AFP.

The top court's ruling comes after an international outcry erupted last year when a lower court acquitted the 47-year-old of murder and reduced his conviction to a lesser charge of kidnap -- overturning his death sentence and ordering his release after almost two decades in prison.

Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about Islamist militants.

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Nearly a month later, after a string of ransom demands were made, a graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate.