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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A suspect in the murder of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl who had been cleared for release by a Pakistani court was instead taken into custody, a government official told NBC News. "According to intelligence and police assessments, the accused is still a threat to peace,” said Niaz Ali Abbasi, the Home Secretary of Sindh province, where the trial took place. "We feel that the people must be protected from this man." Pearl, who worked for the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped and beheaded in 2002.
On Thursday, a Hyderabad court had ruled there was not enough evidence to convict the accused, Qari Hashim, and that he should be released. Hashim’s lawyer, Sher Muhammad Leghari, had complained that the 90-day detention had no basis in law and said that he would appeal for his client’s release on Tuesday. Mohammad Omar Saeed Sheikh, the reported mastermind behind Pearls' kidnapping, was sentenced to death while another three suspects were sentenced to life terms in 2002.