White House says U.S. outraged by release of Daniel Pearl's killer

FILE PHOTO: The White House is seen in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2021. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House expressed outrage on Thursday that Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the release of an Islamist convicted of beheading American journalist Daniel Pearl.

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was the main suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter, was acquitted by a panel of three judges.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki called the decision “an affront to terror victims everywhere” and said Washington is “committed to securing justice for Daniel Pearl’s family.”

At her daily briefing, Psaki called on the Pakistani government to quickly review legal options including letting the United States prosecute those acquitted.

The Pakistani court decision comes at a sensitive time in U.S.-Pakistani relations as new President Joe Biden’s administration reviews Afghanistan’s peace process in which Pakistan is a key player.

Reporting By Nandita Bose and Steve Holland; Editing by Chris Reese and Alistair Bell