The Supreme Court on Monday accepted an appeal by the family of slain American journalist Daniel Pearl seeking to keep a British-born Pakistani man on death row over the beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter. The court delayed until next week hearing the appeal over the lower-court acquittal of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been on death row since his conviction in 2002 over Pearl’s killing. Sheikh had been convicted of helping lure Pearl to a meeting in Karachi in which he was kidnapped. Pearl had been investigating the link between Pakistani militants and Richard C Reid, dubbed the “Shoe Bomber” after trying to blow up a flight from Paris to Miami with explosives hidden in his shoes.The lower court’s April ruling acquitted Sheikh and three other accomplices, who had been sentenced to life in jail for their role in the plot. The lower court found Sheikh guilty on a single lesser charge of abduction, which he is also appealing. The acquittal stunned the U. government, Pearl’s family and journalism advocacy groups. “We felt like (it was) a thunderstorm that is about to reopen our pains of 2002,” Pearl’s father Judea Pearl said.The Pearl family’s lawyer, Faisal Siddiqi, said after Monday’s court hearing that there was ‘ample evidence’ to overturn Sheikh’s appeal and return him to death row. “There is eyewitness evidence, there is forensic evidence, there are confessional statements,” Siddiqi said. Among the confessional statements is a handwritten, July 19, 2019 letter by Sheikh that acknowledged his involvement in Pearl’s killing, Siddiqi said. In the letter, Sheikh said his involvement in Pearl’s death was ‘a relatively minor one’. However, Siddiqi said Sheikh implicates himself in Pearl’s killing with that admission.Sheikh’s lawyer, Mahmood Shaikh, told the AP he suffered a heart attack while arguing the case in the lower court, but remained confident the acquittal would stand. “I have no doubt in my mind,” Shaikh said. He said his doctors ordered him to remain on bed rest for the next two weeks, throwing into question whether the Supreme Court hearing will happen next week. The Sindh provincial government also is appealing Shiekh’s acquittal. Pearl’s father said he has received assurances from the US State Department that it was closely following Sheikh’s acquittal and subsequent appeals. The trial’s outcome could impact relations between the two countries and again paint Pakistan as a haven for militants and extremists, he said. The US Embassy in Islamabad did not immediately respond to a request for comment.