Terrorist who murdered journo to walk free
A British terrorist convicted of killing a Wall Street Journal reporter has had his death sentence overturned in Pakistan.
British national Omar Saeed Sheikh had been sentenced to death in 2002 for the murder and abduction of Daniel Pearl.
However, the Sindh High Court overturned the murder charge.
Instead, the court found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping and sentenced him to seven years in jail, The Sun reports.
A defence lawyer said a Pakistani court had overturned the death sentence and acquitted three others who were accused in the case.
Lawyer Khawaja Naveed said: "The court has commuted Omar's death sentence to a seven-year sentence.
"The murder charges were not proven, so he has given seven years for the kidnapping.
"Omar has already served 18 years, so his release orders will be issued sometime today. He will be out in a few days."
Saeed, a former student at the London School of Economics, and the others were convicted in 2002. The defendants were also collectively fined $A51,000.
At the time, chief prosecutor Raja Quereshi said the money would go to Pearl's widow, Mariane, and their infant son, who was born after his father was killed.
Journalist Pearl, 38, had been the Wall Street Journal's South Asia Bureau Chief, based in Mumbai, India almost two decades ago.
He had been investigating the alleged links between British citizen Richard Reid, who was arrested in December on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes, and Al-Qaeda when he was kidnapped.
Pearl was abducted and beheaded in Karachi. A video of Pearl's decapitation was delivered to the US consulate there.
A report released by the Pearl Project at Georgetown University has claimed that the wrong men were convicted for Pearl's murder.
Instead, the investigation says Pearl was murdered by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Mohammed was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and is being held in Guantánamo Bay.