US likely to seek Omar Shaikh’s extradition
WASHINGTON- One of the main suspects in the Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and murder case, Omar Saeed Shaikh, was wanted by the US authorities even before the Wall Street Journal reporter’s kidnapping.
A ‘sealed indictment’ was reportedly given to Pakistan authorities by the US in November or December last year asking for Omar Saeed for his involvement in a 1994 kidnapping in India in which an American citizen was one of the hostages.
The hostages were rescued and Saeed was put in jail, from where he was released in 1999 in return for passengers freed following the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in the then Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. The matter of Saeed’s arrest and extradition was also believed to have been raised in a meeting between Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and US ambassador Wendy Chamberlin in Islamabad in early January.
The US authorities may renew their demand for Saeed to be handed over to them now that he is in custody and is believed to be the key man in the Pearl’s case. A formal request for Saeed’s extradition is already stated to have been made, and the White House said on Monday negotiations were continuing with Pakistan in this connection.
After gaining freedom in 1999, Saeed joined the Jaish-i-Mohammad in Pakistan and was said to be one of its activists.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday, quoting Pakistani officials that the Pakistan embassy had told them the US might seek Saeed’s extradition for conspiring to kill American citizens.
GUANTANAMO: Human rights lawyers have said they will take their case challenging the detention of 300 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States.
The lawyers hope that by this strategy, they will be able to overcome the problem of jurisdiction caused by the fact that Guantanamo is not in the US territory. They will ask the OAS in a petition that was due to be moved on Monday to have all Taliban\Al-Qaeda prisoners declared as prisoners of war and be given access to lawyers and consular officials of their home countries. Reports persist that some Pakistanis may be among the Guantanamo prisoners.