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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A suspect in the murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist kidnapped and executed in Pakistan in 2002, was released for lack of evidence by a Pakistani Anti Terrorist Court in the southern city of Hyderabad on Friday. Qari Hashim, 50, was being held in Hyderabad Central Jail for Pearl’s murder. He was arrested in 2007 by Pakistani authorities.
Hashim’s lawyer, Sher Mohammad Leghari, told NBC News by phone that he was “perfectly happy” with the verdict, which took four months and six hearings by judge Abdul Ghafoor Memon to decide that there were “not enough grounds to keep Hashim in jail.” Leghari said he was “not sure” why his client had been arrested by authorities after an extensive manhunt, even though he admitted that Hashim had “been an absconder for years”.
The reported mastermind behind Pearls' kidnapping, Mohammad Omar Saeed Sheikh, was sentenced to death while another three suspects were sentenced to life terms in 2002.