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A Pakistani court on Thursday overturned the murder conviction of a British Pakistani man found guilty of the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Instead, the court found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping and sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Pearl disappeared Jan. 23, 2002 in Karachi while researching links between Pakistani militants and Richard C. Reid, who became known as the “shoe-bomber” after he was arrested on a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives in his shoes. Prosecutors said Saeed lured Pearl into a trap by promising to arrange an interview with an Islamic cleric who police believed was not involved in the conspiracy.

One of Saeed’s lawyers, Khwaja Naveed, said Saeed could go free unless the government chooses to challenge the court decision. Faiz Shah, prosecutor general for southern Sindh province, said the government will appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement expressing disappointment at the court decision and supporting an appeal.


A court on Wednesday barred the British government from providing U.S. prosecutors with evidence against two Islamic State militants suspected in the beheadings of Western hostages, citing the prospect the men could face the death penalty if tried and convicted in America.

The ruling by the British Supreme Court blocks an earlier decision by the country’s authorities to cooperate with the U.S. by sharing information about El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey.

The British men, captured two years ago by a Kurdish-led, U.S.-backed militia, are accused of participation in a brutal Islamic State group known for beheadings and barbaric treatment of American aid workers, journalists and other hostages in Syria.

The court decision is a setback for the U.S. Justice Department, where officials for years have been investigating the killings. U.S. officials have not announced any charges against the men, but have spoken publicly about their desire to see members of the cell, known as “The Beatles” for their British accents, face justice. The men were transferred to U.S. custody last October as Turkey invaded Syria to attack Kurds who have battling the Islamic State alongside American forces.

“We are disappointed with the UK Supreme Court’s decision and are considering the appropriate next steps,” said Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi. “As our investigation of these individuals continues, we will work with our UK counterparts on a path forward, consistent with our shared commitment to ensuring that those who commit acts of terror are held accountable for their crimes.”

It was not clear what those next steps would be, or whether the decision might prompt the Justice Department to remove the possibility of the death penalty from any eventual prosecution. Attorney General William Barr said in a private meeting last year with victims’ relatives that he wanted to see the militants brought to justice.


The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday backed Spain’s express deportation of two African migrants back to Morocco from a Spanish enclave in northwest Africa as part of a mass expulsion.

The court’s grand chamber ruled that there had been no violation of two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case was taken by a Malian and an Ivorian with the support of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, or ECCHR.

The two men, along with several dozen others, crossed the high three border wire fences separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco in August 2014. They were caught by Spanish police and immediately returned to Morocco.

Human rights organizations have long criticized express deportations. They claim that migrants are denied the opportunity to apply for asylum and an assessment of the risks they face if expelled.

The European court had initially condemned Spain in October 2017 for the case and concluded that the so-called summary returns from the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco were in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Thursday's ruling followed an appeal by Spain.

The appeal chamber said the migrants had “placed themselves in an unlawful situation when they had deliberately attempted to enter Spain as part of a large group and at an unauthorized location, taking advantage of the group’s large numbers and using force.”

It said “they had thus chosen not to use the legal procedures which existed in order to enter Spanish territory lawfully.”

Ceuta and Melilla are the European Union’s only land borders with Africa, Each year thousands of migrants, most of them from sub-Saharan countries, try to scale the fences to make it into Spain in the hope they won’t be returned and may get asylum.


A Dutch court threw out a civil case Wednesday brought by a Dutch-Palestinian man seeking damages from two former Israeli military commanders for their roles in a 2014 airstrike on a Gaza house that killed six members of his family.

The Hague District Court ruled that the case filed by Ismail Zeyada can't proceed because the commanders, including high profile former military chief Benny Gantz, have immunity.

Zeyada was attempting to sue Gantz, who is now a prominent Israeli politician, and former Israeli air force commander Amir Eshel. Neither Gantz nor Eshel was in court for the decision.

Zeyada, who lives in the Netherlands, brought the case in The Hague because he argued he can't successfully hold Israeli military leaders accountable in Israeli courts.

But presiding judge Larisa Alwin said the court can't hear the case because the commanders “enjoy functional immunity from jurisdiction” as their actions were part of a state-sanctioned military operation.

Zeyada said he and his lawyers would study the ruling with a view to appealing. “I owe it to all the Palestinians who have suffered and continue to suffer the same fate, to continue this struggle to achieve what is denied to them: Access to independent justice and accountability for the unspeakable crimes committed against them,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

The court agreed with the arguments of Dutch lawyers representing the men who said last year they should reject the case for lack of jurisdiction because the commanders have immunity because their actions in the 2014 Gaza conflict were part of an Israeli military operation and that Zeyada was free to sue them in Israel.


Bangladesh’s High Court has asked authorities to shut down 231 factories surrounding the highly polluted main river in the nation’s capital, lawyers and activists said Tuesday.

Manzil Murshid, who filed a petition with the court seeking its intervention, said the factories are mainly small dyeing, tanning and rubber plants operating without approval from the Department of Environment. Such factories often are able to operate with the backing of influential politicians or by bribing government officials.

The court’s decision Monday on the factories near the River Buriganga was hailed by environment activists despite some previous court orders that were not carried out by government authorities, Murshid said.

Murshid represents Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, a domestic advocacy group.

He said the decision came after the environment department submitted a report on 231 factories that operate illegally and contribute highly to the pollution. The court also asked the officials to prepare “a complete list of illegal factories or factories without effluent treatment plants” operating in and around Dhaka within three months.

“This is a good decision. The court has asked the authorities to disconnect water, electricity and other utility services for factories that are polluting the Buriganga,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Amatul Karim, who represented the Department of Environment in the case, said the court’s order came after a thorough examination of the history of the factories, the level of pollution of the river and overall damage to the environment.


A Greek court on Monday indefinitely postponed the retrial of seven suspects on murder charges over the 2017 fatal beating of a Texan tourist on an island resort.

The postponement was granted following a request by some of the defendants’ lawyers, who were trying separate cases on the same day.

Monday’s postponement was the second, after the court in the western town of Patras deferred the case last week to give the newly hired lawyer representing the dead man’s family time to familiarize himself with the case.

Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos island in western Greece.

Six of the suspects -- five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin -- were initially convicted by a first instance court last year and sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison, but four have since been released. The seventh defendant, a Greek barman, was acquitted. A public prosecutor had ordered the retrial of all seven, deeming the sentences too lenient. The Patras court didn't immediately set a new trial date.


A Greek court on Wednesday postponed the retrial of seven suspects on murder charges over the 2017 fatal beating of a Texan tourist on an island resort to allow a lawyer newly hired by the victim's family to familiarize himself with the case.

The court in the western port town of Patras postponed the case until Jan. 13.

Six of the men -- five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin -- had been convicted by a first instance court last year and sentenced to between five and 15 years in prison, but four have since been released. The seventh defendant, a Greek barman, had been acquitted. A public prosecutor had ordered the retrial of all seven, deeming the sentences too lenient.

Bakari Henderson, a 22-year-old from Austin, died in July 2017 after being beaten in the street following an argument in a bar in the Laganas resort area of Zakynthos island.

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