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Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Asad Majeed Khan, expressing his deep concern and disappointment following the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to acquit convicted terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. Sheikh was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl, who served as the Wall Street Journal’s Bureau Chief for South Asia at the time of his brutal death.

“The United States and Pakistan coordinate on a number of critical issues,” Rubio said. “It is important to our relationship that the respect for human rights, the rule of law, justice and accountability be upheld in Pakistan. For this reason, I believe it is important that your government provide public assurances that Sheikh, and those individuals involved in Daniel Pearl’s murder, remain in prison where they belong.”

Rubio is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees human rights.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Ambassador Khan:  

I write to express my deep concern and disappointment with the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision to acquit Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who is a convicted terrorist and the mastermind behind the kidnapping and killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl, as well as the court’s decision to move him to a “safe house.” I urge the Pakistan Government to ensure those responsible for Daniel’s brutal murder, including Sheikh, remain in jail. 

In 2002, Daniel Pearl traveled to Pakistan to serve as the Wall Street Journal’s Bureau Chief for South Asia.  Not long after, Daniel was abducted in Karachi where he was brutally beheaded, and the perpetrators sent the gruesome video to the U.S. government. Sheikh, and three individuals, were later arrested and rightfully charged with the murder of Daniel Pearl. As you are also aware, this was not the first time that Sheikh had targeted and intended to harm American citizens. In 1994, he served time in prison in India for kidnapping foreigners, including an American. All of those involved in Daniel’s murder should face the full weight of justice for their actions. 

The United States and Pakistan coordinate on a number of critical issues. It is important to our relationship that the respect for human rights, the rule of law, justice and accountability be upheld in Pakistan. For this reason, I believe it is important that your government provide public assurances that Sheikh, and those individuals involved in Daniel Pearl’s murder, remain in prison where they belong.  

Thank you for your time and consideration of this important matter.

Sincerely,