Sheikh was acquitted of Pearl’s murder earlier this year but was detained while Perle’s family appealed the acquittal.
A provincial court in Pakistan has ordered the release of a British-born Pakistani man charged with the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl.
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the prime suspect in Perle’s murder, was acquitted of murder earlier this year but was detained while Perle’s family appealed the acquittal.
On Thursday, the Sindh High Court’s arrest warrant overturned a ruling by the same court with his lawyer Mehmood Sheikh, calling for his client’s immediate release.
“The warrant is down,” said Faisal Siddiqi, the Pearl family’s lawyer, adding that Sheikh will be released pending the completion of the appeal, but will be returned to prison if the family succeeds in overturning the acquittal.
Sheikh was sentenced to death and three others were sentenced to life imprisonment for their roles in the conspiracy. But in April he was acquitted along with three others, a move that stunned the United States.
The acquittal is now being challenged separately by both the government and Perle’s family.
The government has spoken out against the release of Sheikh, saying it would endanger the public.
The Supreme Court will resume its hearing in January 5.
The Wall Street Journal reporter, 38, from Encino, California, was kidnapped on January 23, 2002.
Sheikh was convicted of seducing Pearl to a meeting in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, where he was kidnapped.
Pearl had investigated the link between Pakistani fighters and Richard C Reid, dubbed the “shoe bomber”, after attempting to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.
A gruesome video of Perle’s beheading was sent to the US consulate.
In Sheikh’s original trial, emails between Sheikh and Pearl presented in court indicated that Sheikh had gained Pearl’s trust to share their experiences as they both waited for their first child to be born.