Releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi


by Rumbold
21st August, 2009 at 12:52 pm    

The Lockerbie bomber was recently freed on compassionate grounds, and allowed to return home to Libya in order to see out his final days, as he has terminal cancer. There is plenty of doubt about the validity of his conviction, but let us assume for a moment that he was guilty. Was it right to release him on compassionate grounds? I think that it was.

Prison in my view serves three purposes: to deter criminals, to rehabilitate them, and to keep certain people away from society to prevent them from doing any more damage. The question therefore is whether or not Mr. al-Megrahi’s release weakens any of these purposes. At this point rehabilitation is irrelevant, as he is nearly dead. Similarly, he poses no threat to anyone, and it is unclear why releasing him at this point would reduce the deterrent effect of prison.

So the only reason to keep him in prison is to punish him, which has always seemed pointless to me. Punishment for punishment’s sake is useless, as it is simply another form of revenge. Since it cannot undo the crime, what does it achieve? That is not to say I don’t understand the anger directed at Mr. al-Megrahi by the relatives of the victims, merely that basing policy on anger is not a good idea.

Yet this is not a clear-cut case of being compassionate towards a dying man. Would we be so keen to release a multiple rapist and child molester who was dying of cancer? What about someone who might have only served one month of a fifty-year sentence? If not, why not? Are people sympathetic towards al-Megrahi because he is dying, or because his conviction is dubious?


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  1. Carmen D'Cruz

    RT @pickledpolitics Pickled Politics » Releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi http://bit.ly/td7p8


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    New blog post: Releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/5607




  1. Thomas Byrne — on 21st August, 2009 at 12:56 pm  

    Quite, but if his conviction is dubious then the correct way to repeal it is through the appeal process.

  2. Rumbold — on 21st August, 2009 at 12:57 pm  

    Which he was doing, but events (i.e. the cancer) overtook him.

  3. Cauldron — on 21st August, 2009 at 1:16 pm  

    If al-Megrahi dies in the next few days then life will indeed have meant life and justice will have been served.

    But what if he pulls an Ernest Saunders?

  4. bananabrain — on 21st August, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

    well, most of the victims were american after all, so we should obviously be lenient with the guy, he was obviously the fall guy of a big conspiracy, it’s so obvious isn’t it? obvious! obvious!

    yuck.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  5. Brownie — on 21st August, 2009 at 2:12 pm  

    So the only reason to keep him in prison is to punish him, which has always seemed pointless to me.

    You know the old saying about justice and how it must be seen to be done?

    So you’re a relative of someone who died at Lockerbie and the guy convicted is freed early. I suggest this might upset you, and not for reasons that have anything to do with your lust for revenge or desire to see punishment meted out.

  6. platinum786 — on 21st August, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    Whilst we’re on the question of justice;

    Iran Air Flight 655.

  7. falcao — on 21st August, 2009 at 2:32 pm  

    The whole case looks like a sham the court proceedings where like a kangeroo court. Every observer from the UN to members of the lockerbie victims families have said the evidence and case was unfair and dubious to say the least.

  8. Dalbir — on 21st August, 2009 at 2:49 pm  

    As foul as blowing up an aeroplane is (if he played a part in it), we have to remember that al-Megrahi is essentially a political prisoner. Comparing him to a child molestor or rapist isn’t appropriate.

    If we have released people involved in murder during ridiculously labelled Irish “troubles”, than this is no different.

    Sorry but I personally think Bush/Blair are no better than this guy (if he is guilty) and they are walking around “Scot free” themselves

    Amnesty is a good thing sometimes and I would say it is in this case.

    No doubt the oil deals the morally upright British are making with Libya right now, play absolutely no part in this whatsoever.

  9. Sofi — on 21st August, 2009 at 3:01 pm  

    i concur with #7

  10. damon — on 21st August, 2009 at 3:13 pm  

    Dalbir @ 8

    ”As foul as blowing up an aeroplane is …”

    If he did it I don’t see why that would make him a political prisoner.
    Putting bombs on commercial airliners can never be a political act.
    If he didn’t do it, then that’s another story.
    I wasn’t convinced though by the Scottish minister’s explaination.
    Compassion? Who cares about that sometimes?

    It’s a minority view that we should always show compassion to the worst of people.
    (Although Al Megrahi isn’t really the worst of people, and is and should be, just a footnote of history).

  11. Nyrone — on 21st August, 2009 at 4:02 pm  

    Great piece Rumbold! Really thought-provoking..

  12. Joel — on 21st August, 2009 at 4:48 pm  

    Punishment for punishment’s sake is indeed pointless, and it undermines the system. Revenge has no place in policy.

    I would say Prison sentence often serves a fourth purpose, a purely psychological one for the populace. It shouldn’t do, but it does (thanks muchly to a reactionary press). But this is overruled by the fact that the guy’s conviction could be dubious.

  13. Shatterface — on 21st August, 2009 at 5:19 pm  

    If there’s a reasonable doubt he should have been released on those grounds; if not, it’s just a pity cancer can only kill him once.

  14. jasonbradyut — on 21st August, 2009 at 5:36 pm  

    What, all we all of a sudden giving out FREE Lunches? Since when??? Under what premise? Did this guy learn his lesson? I doubt he would have changed his actions if he knew he would have gone to jail. These people don’t care, but only to KILL America. They hate us…helllloooooo!!! Wake up people.

  15. Shuggy — on 21st August, 2009 at 6:06 pm  

    That is not to say I don’t understand the anger directed at Mr. al-Megrahi by the relatives of the victims, merely that basing policy on anger is not a good idea.

    Not all of the relatives of the victims were angry at al-Megrahi – one of the obvious reasons being that, as you mention at the beginning of the post, they don’t believe for a minute that he was responsible.

  16. Chris R — on 21st August, 2009 at 6:57 pm  

    I for one am very moved by Scotland’s decision to release this dying man.

    I understand the outrage and I know this must have been a very difficult decision, but this compassion is something we can all learn from.

  17. Rumbold — on 21st August, 2009 at 8:47 pm  

    Brownie:

    “You know the old saying about justice and how it must be seen to be done?

    So you’re a relative of someone who died at Lockerbie and the guy convicted is freed early. I suggest this might upset you, and not for reasons that have anything to do with your lust for revenge or desire to see punishment meted out.”

    Justice has been done- he was in prison up until the last few days of his existance. What more do you want?

    Dalbir:

    Political prisoners are those who are imprisoned because of their beliefs and/or activities that would not be illegal in a state with the rule of law.

    Nyrone:

    Thanks. It is a very difficult debate.

    Shuggy:

    That’s true. What I meant was the anger shown by some of the relatives.

  18. Leon — on 21st August, 2009 at 8:58 pm  

    Excellent piece Rumbold, especially agree on your views on prison and punishment.

  19. MaidMarian — on 21st August, 2009 at 9:33 pm  

    First thing to say, good article.

    ‘Are people sympathetic towards al-Megrahi because he is dying, or because his conviction is dubious?’

    Neither, it is because he is seen a a useful stalking horse for the chatterati to stand behind and wave their genitals at Labour. It has nothing to do with justice.

    What we have seen in this case is the politicisation of justice and the result has left a bad smell.

  20. Rumbold — on 21st August, 2009 at 9:36 pm  

    Thanks Leon.

    MaidMarian:

    Thanks. I think that some people are using it as a way to attack New Labour, but others are concerned about the actual prisoner.

  21. Shamit — on 21st August, 2009 at 9:46 pm  

    Rumbold

    Excellent post – and as Leon as already mentioned your point about prison only for punishment’s sake being pointless makes perfect sense.

    In a wider construct the question becomes “Should the State be vindictive” -

  22. MaidMarian — on 21st August, 2009 at 10:04 pm  

    Rumbold – Yes, I’m sure that some people are using this both as a political attack and also for genuine concern.

    This is what happens when (in)justice and politics mix, and it is not a pretty sight.

    For what it’s worth, I think the bloke on balance should have been let out. I would add though that the reception he got in Libya left a very bad taste in the mouth. It was practically revelling in deaths.

  23. Adnan — on 21st August, 2009 at 10:39 pm  

    Rumbold – are you saying that you think the conviction was unsafe ?

    MaidMarian – you seem to imply in 22 that you think the conviction was sound. If so, then why should he be released on compassionate grounds ? I would’ve thought that he got the welcome in Libya because they thought he’d been fitted up (I hope it’s not revelling in the deaths).

    Also, are you saying there is some politcal cynicism here such as our government wanting to get more business with Libya – if so, was it worth pissing off the Americans ?

    I don’t buy the Iran angle – if the US wanted to “fix” things, they would have been much more keen to pin the blame on Iran than Libya.

  24. Dalbir — on 21st August, 2009 at 10:53 pm  

    Political prisoners are those who are imprisoned because of their beliefs and/or activities that would not be illegal in a state with the rule of law.

    Where did you get this definition from? Haven’t people involved in murder during the Irish/Anglo “troubles” been kept as political prisonsers in Maze? Unless I am mistaken.

  25. Adnan — on 21st August, 2009 at 11:02 pm  

    Rumbold’s definition seems an idealised one e.g. could be applied to Burmese opposition or Tibetan demonstrators (as they are positively viewed from here). In pragmatic terms, the GB government the “Troubles” prisoners became political as soon as the government decided that it was going for a political solution (but foreign sympathisers probably applied the term a lot earlier). Earlier in the 20th century, the GB took a far harsher line in Ireland because it was probably thought they could crush the rebels.

  26. tanvir — on 21st August, 2009 at 11:37 pm  

    They way I look at it, considering the stuff i heard about the strength of the case over the years, he was a scapegoat, and releasing him like this keeps public opinion hot and maleable. What if he survived untill his appeal? And got sent home as an ACTUAL hero?? Then you have no locerbie bomber… Colnel Gadaffi might want his cash back from the relatives of the dead and we would have to roll back to sqaure one. I think I heard somewhere that his compassionate release meant he gives up the right to clear his name is that correct? Im feeling far too lazy to look it up myself.

  27. Kulvinder — on 22nd August, 2009 at 1:38 am  

    As with all these types of cases (including ronnie biggs) the argument about ‘compassion’ has more to do with the fairly substantial medical costs than greater ideas about justice.

    Any compassionate justice system would accept that holding up not only one man, but one man fairly low down the chain of conspiracy as the avatar of evil for a complex plot is obscene.

    Still its been pretty amusing to read the comments of outraged americans

    ‘damn the briti…no wait the scots…lets boycott scotland…but can we go to britain?; theres a scottish government in scotland and a british government in erm britland; lets just blame the liberals!’

  28. Lisa Stone — on 22nd August, 2009 at 4:21 am  

    Even though he is dying,he should not be trusted and he should still be monitored.

  29. Rumbold — on 22nd August, 2009 at 11:22 am  

    Thanks Shamit.

    MaidMarian:

    Yes, the Libyan reception was unpleasant. But I wasn’t suprised in a country ruled by Colonel Gadaffi.

    Adnan:

    I think that there is sufficient doubt about his guilt, or the extent of his guilt, to raise a few eyebrows.

    Dalbir:

    Well, my definition of political prisoners would be what I wrote before (i.e. imprisoned for things not considered illegal in a country with the rule of law).

  30. douglas clark — on 22nd August, 2009 at 11:49 am  

    Rumbold,

    This link:

    http://tinyurl.com/md39v5

    More or less encapsulates what I think about this whole, sorry, affair.

  31. Rumbold — on 22nd August, 2009 at 12:11 pm  

    Douglas:

    It was a good piece. I do feel sorry sometimes for the SNP, as they are accused of grandstanding (which they do) a lot of the time, but when they take tough decisions like this they are attacked too as second-raters.

  32. Joel — on 22nd August, 2009 at 12:30 pm  

    Since Al-Megrahi professes innocence, the Libyans at the hero’s reception were celebrating… a political football. Little else. Correct me if I’m demonstrably wrong.

    I’m not convinced the “hero’s reception” was anything to do with the bombing, as some have suggested.

    (I still understand G. Brown’s request that it be downplayed).

  33. Dalbir — on 22nd August, 2009 at 12:40 pm  

    Saw this today on the Orange website. What do people think about the truth of Saif’s claim?

    Foreign Office denies Lockerbie trade deal

    The Foreign Office is strongly denying claims that the release of the Lockerbie bomber was linked to trade agreements with Libya.

    Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son Saif is reported to have said that the decision to free Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi from a Scottish prison was tied to a deal between the UK and oil-rich north African state.

    However the Foreign Office insisted that there was no deal between London and Libya in relation to Megrahi, and that his release on compassionate grounds was purely a matter for the Scottish authorities.

    ‘There is no deal. All decisions relating to the Megrahi case have been exclusively for Scottish ministers, the Crown Office in Scotland, and the Scottish judicial authorities,’ a spokesman said.

    http://www.orange.co.uk/news/topstories/21843.htm?linkfrom=hp4&link=hero_pos_3_link_body&article=090822x1000x2heronewsforeignofficedenieslockerbietradedeal

  34. Kulvinder — on 22nd August, 2009 at 12:51 pm  

    I think the idea the libyans made a pact with the uk government that ‘made’ the scottish government release al-Megrahi in order to benefit predominantly england based companies is ever so slightly fanciful.

  35. Dalbir — on 22nd August, 2009 at 1:05 pm  
  36. Bobby — on 22nd August, 2009 at 2:23 pm  

    Dalbir: Excellent find! This should actually
    finish this conversation.
    Everyone should know by now that oil is so
    very very important, even more so in coming
    decades. I just find it unbelievable that the
    big countries wouldn’t be competting in anyway
    possible to secure wells, no matter what gets put
    forward on the table(al-Megrahi in this case).
    If the Libya deal is so important to BP as it’s
    article states, then these opposing theories to
    Al Megrahi’s guilt could really be not so “fanciful”
    after all.

  37. Rumbold — on 22nd August, 2009 at 3:19 pm  

    As Kulvinder says, I can’t see the Scottish governemnt doing anything to help England. However, the benefits to BP and others no doubt helped to temper the Engliish government’s response.

  38. Dalbir — on 22nd August, 2009 at 3:23 pm  

    Doesn’t the B in BP cover Scotland anymore?

  39. douglas clark — on 22nd August, 2009 at 3:28 pm  

    Rumbold,

    You’ve got to remember that Scotland has a pretty big oil sector in it’s economy too. So there could be some mutual benefits to both Westminster and Hollyrood. I think Dalbir’s spot might be more on the mark than you are crediting it with.

    Just saying.

  40. Rumbold — on 22nd August, 2009 at 3:29 pm  

    Dalbir and Douglas:

    Fair points.

  41. Chris Baldwin — on 22nd August, 2009 at 7:00 pm  

    I’ve rarely seen anything more ludicrous than the outrage expressed by the British and American governments over the welcome Megrahi has received in Libya. This man was a Libyan intelligence agent. The Libyan government has accepted responsibility for the bombing. We’re chiding one murderer (our good friend Colonel Gadaffi) for his response to the release of another (Megrahi). How naive are we?

  42. Kulvinder — on 22nd August, 2009 at 7:42 pm  

    Doesn’t the B in BP cover Scotland anymore?

    Not unless you’re a confused scottish nationalist.

    I’m also not sure what a press release from 2007 has to do with the discussion; libya preferentially deals with and invests in italy. If you want to generate any traction with your conspiracy you’re better off finding an aberdeen based exploration company to focus on.

    That all said i have to say i found Robert S Muller (the third no less) to be more than a little harsh in this rant.

  43. Dalbir — on 22nd August, 2009 at 8:09 pm  

    If you want to generate any traction with your conspiracy you’re better off finding an aberdeen based exploration company to focus on.

    What conspiracy? Looks like plain old fashioned business to me.

    I wonder how true these comments are:

    “Following Megrahi’s release, Mr Gaddafi told Libyan TV his case was raised during talks over oil and gas and reportedly claimed that the issue had been raised repeatedly by Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair.

    In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table,” Mr Gaddafi told Libya’s Al Mutawassit channel.

    This brief BBC profile on Gaddafi’s son makes interesting background reading.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8215870.stm

  44. Kulvinder — on 22nd August, 2009 at 10:23 pm  

    So scottish nationalists colluded with westminster to release megrahi despite the anger of the americans in order to benefit british business (or more explicitly bp).

    I’m not sure what im more shocked by, salmond helping a company called british petroleum or salmond doing anything with westminster.

    In other news the snp decide to smooth over the row by allowing us contractors to service uk tridents in scotland.

  45. Dalbir — on 22nd August, 2009 at 10:42 pm  

    I just read Salmond has long standing connections with the oil industry. Hmmmm…..

  46. Jai — on 23rd August, 2009 at 1:08 pm  

    Excellent article, Rumbold.

    That age-old question: Retribution vs. Rehabilitation…..

  47. camilla — on 23rd August, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    ha rumbold, that is ridiculous, seriously

    muslims are so compassionate to other muslims who committed crimes on non-muslims. what about non-muslims who killed muslims? any compassion? no, they deserve punishment, severe one, according to Sharia.

    ever heard of german girls killed recently in Yemen?

    their only guilt was that they were christians and they came to yemen to teach children

    even if non-muslim’s crimes are no massive killings

    no punishment can undo crime – it does not mean that there is no point to send people to jail

    uk government betrayed the relatives of killed people, sold them for oil, it’s obvious

    every normal person would feel disgust towards such piece of rubbish like ali al-megrahi, towards Caddafi, giving him a gentle hug

    watching this, how can anyone deny that muslims support massive killing of non-muslims?

    I feel terribly sorry for the relatives who have to watch that scum set free…

    he should have died in jail, that worthless vernim

    your logic is totally hypocritic and disgusting, Rumbold…

    whu not set free those soldiers who killid peaceful people in Iraq and found guilty of that? their imprisonment can’t undo their crimes, ha?

  48. camilla — on 23rd August, 2009 at 2:36 pm  

    I think that if some murderer of muslims was compassionately release – the reaction here would be different.

  49. camilla — on 23rd August, 2009 at 2:40 pm  

    i wonder, what relatives are going to do about it?

  50. Dalbir — on 23rd August, 2009 at 2:47 pm  

    Camilla

    watching this, how can anyone deny that muslims support massive killing of non-muslims?

    I think we are talking more of Libyan nationalism than Islam here myself.

  51. camilla - to Chris R — on 23rd August, 2009 at 3:05 pm  

    “I for one am very moved by Scotland’s decision to release this dying man.

    I understand the outrage and I know this must have been a very difficult decision, but this compassion is something we can all learn from.”

    chris r – i hope chris you will be equally moved when the murderer of your relatives will be set free…

    I see you are just another brainless heartless abstract humanist here… it is easy to be humane at other people expense…

    nice… but in the context of killing about 300 people – what can we learn from it? for people like caddafi can learn from it?

    my lesson is that common people of Lybia support it, the terror against non muslims

  52. camilla - to Chris R — on 23rd August, 2009 at 3:07 pm  

    dablir, i don’t think that libyan nationalism condracts Islam so much..

  53. malina — on 23rd August, 2009 at 3:09 pm  

    camilla, my guess – are you russian?

    then why you give a damn about UK? they have always been hating us, long before that lousy Miliband

    no surprise…

  54. MaidMarian — on 23rd August, 2009 at 4:04 pm  

    Adnan (23) – ‘you seem to imply in 22 that you think the conviction was sound. If so, then why should he be released on compassionate grounds ? I would’ve thought that he got the welcome in Libya because they thought he’d been fitted up (I hope it’s not revelling in the deaths).’

    Look, the jury made its decision – what you or I think from that point on has not much relevance. I’m pretty sure that OJ did it, but I wasn’t on the jury.

    It’s a tough call and, as I made clear in my earlier post, I think it was the right decision ON BALANCE.

    The Libyans can think what they like – but that welcome was revelling in death, and you are holding reality in contempt if you think otherwise.

    ‘Also, are you saying there is some politcal cynicism here such as our government wanting to get more business with Libya – if so, was it worth pissing off the Americans?’

    I’m saying that not everything can or shold be reduced to willy-waving at New Labour and the US. Whatever the internet chatterati say on the subject.

  55. falcao — on 23rd August, 2009 at 7:43 pm  

    Maid marian

    the americans are pissed off for the cameras and media but dig deeper and they are there in libya in a competition with britain and others for the oil, gas and business deals available in libya.

    So how pissed off are they really?

  56. MaidMarian — on 23rd August, 2009 at 8:00 pm  

    Falcao (55) – Loved the one hit by the way.

    I think that, on this occasion, all this conspiracy theorising is just that – theorising. I think that in being annoyed the US is being genuine and reflecting the views of citizens over there. I think that your reductivism and theorising is an insult to the dead. And before you ask, no I don’t have any evidence – it’s an opinion.

    Now, I realise that in writing something that is not anti-American and/or anti-New Labour I have just marked myself as scum, so I’ll take my pasting now please.

  57. Andy Gilmour — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:11 am  

    Speaking as a token scot, and SNP voter, I find the wonderful collage of ‘collusion with Westminster’ theories intensely amusing, but aaaaanyway…

    It was a brave decision (which may cost Kenny McA his job – or turn into a full-blown ‘no-confidence’ vote on the administration – if the opposition parties up here decide to play hardball politics. Jack McConnell was being as odious as ever today – with him it’s ever been anything that might help his party over the truth, but sadly what more could have been expected?), and, on the balance of the evidence that was presented against the guy in court [NB MaidMarian - there was no jury, only a panel of 3 judges], the right one to take.

    But for the wrong reasons. Which is, sadly for the SNP, quite the classic “British” way of doing things.

    We fit someone up for political expediency, do our best to make the appeals procedure as difficult as possible, then finally “do the right thing” by letting him go – but in a manner by which we can deny all culpability or any wrongdoing on the part of the justice system.

    Ho hum.

    Still, Monday should be a very interesting session in the Scottish parliament.

  58. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 5:32 am  

    I just don’t understand you people – do you really hate the americans so much that prefer to expresse compassonate to that scum al-Megrahi, never to the relatives of the victims?

    try to put yourself on their places for the start

    Kulvindar, 27, I don’t know who you are – native citizen or immigrants, muslim or Christian – but you are a scumbag, that’s for sure…

    I hope someone will be amused at your sorrow, you are just disgusting

  59. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 5:52 am  

    still can’t stop thinking about the lybians greeting that scum…

    islam don’t support terrisrism or killing if non-muslims? oh, come on! too intolerant to say this?

    ok, then, MUSLIMS (not onle people of Lybia, the league or arabian country is alsi hilarious about that) are supportive of the BOMBER, TERRORIST as a hero – IS NOT IT THAT THE WHOLE WORLD OBSERVED AND NOBODY CAN DENY?

    don’t humiliate your own mind to say that it has nothing to do with the bombings

    even some rose petals on his way – unbelievable…

    MOST of you must have heard of killing egyptian woman in the court of Dresden that happen recently.
    the muslim world was outraged – of course, as none is outraged there if non-muslims are killed and that happens almost every day…

    what if after all the whole Germany would greet the murderer after setting him free? people of Germany trying to give him a hug and struggling to shake his hand, rose petals and all that stuff…

    what would the muslims think of that? Of the germans’ reaction to that?
    that they don’t support what he did? aaa, I don’t think so…

    after all we will be fed with “islam condems terror” again and again…

    putting the blinders on your eyes, don’t forget the the whip and the bridle go as a unit” (stanislw jercy lec)

    shame on whose who support

  60. camilla - to Rumbold on pushiment for punishment sake is useless — on 24th August, 2009 at 6:03 am  

    nice idea…

    imagine me killing you or your, Rumbold… just you and nobody else, because you are my only enemy, for example…

    I am quite nice person in reality – I help people in need, care about environment even run charity fond…

    but one day I decide to kill Rumbold or anyone dear to him.
    and I manage to convince the court that I am not about to kill anyone ever – that was an isolate case, I am about ot get back to my charity and over sweet and touchy things. I am not dangerpous for society.

    and the court sets me free on the basis that there is no point punish me for punishment’s sake.
    it can’t undo my crime and so on as it was in your reasonning. would you support such decision? or all this grace is only for al-megrahi?
    hm, i guess so… or for muslims in gegneral

    what about Sharia for Al-megrahi?

  61. douglas clark — on 24th August, 2009 at 10:40 am  

    camilla @ 60,

    Well, perhaps prison wouldn’t be appropriate for you but perhaps secure psychiatric care would?

  62. Rumbold — on 24th August, 2009 at 10:42 am  

    Camilla:

    If you killed me, I would hope that if you were dying, that you would be released from prison to spend your few remaining moments with your family.

  63. asif — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:19 am  

    camilla

    “what about Sharia for Al-megrahi?”

    Since you clearly are a legal expert in Sharia – I mean God forbid you would just say something without knowing about it-you would know that in Sharia once a murderer’s guilt is firmly established (which in this case it really hasnt been) the family of the victim not the state decides the punishment for the person who murdered their loved one. Either they can be executed or which is much more emphasised, the family should forgive the killer which carries with it immense spiritual reward. However since not every can reach the spiritual level of forgiving killers the option for punishment exists.

    So conceivably if all the victims familes forgave al-Maghrai he would be free (though hed have to pay monetray compenstaion)

  64. asif — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:24 am  

    camilla

    MOST of you must have heard of killing egyptian woman in the court of Dresden that happen recently.
    the muslim world was outraged – of course, as none is outraged there if non-muslims are killed and that happens almost every day…

    what if after all the whole Germany would greet the murderer after setting him free? people of Germany trying to give him a hug and struggling to shake his hand, rose petals and all that stuff…

    what would the muslims think of that? Of the germans’ reaction to that?
    that they don’t support what he did? aaa, I don’t think so…

    You are aware that many people , including the victims relatives believe Maghrahi is an innocent man so any celebrations should be see in that light

    You are also aware that many people in the west celebrate mass murderers like Bush and Blair (not to mention those from the past)

    You are also aware that Ronald Reagan (another celebrated mass murderer) gave a medal of honour and hereos welcome to the American pilot who shot down an Iranian civilian plane killing 290 civilians including 66 children.

  65. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:33 am  

    61 why so? is a person insane if he wants to kill his enemy? (let’s imagine that Rumbold s my severe enemy) a person can be sane

  66. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:36 am  

    63 who told you they forgave him? what a silly idea!

    compensation does not mean forgiving or consent with a murderer. maybe for you it is – buit nor for them I am sure and so I have no right to decide for them

    already have forgotten the protests?

  67. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:38 am  

    he haven’t even admitted his guilt
    how could he be forgiven?

  68. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:42 am  

    I am not aware of Ronald Reagan’s act in this case – maybe I am too young and not aware of such details in other countries policy. I am not an American.

    what made you think that some victims’ relatives consider him innocant? could you maybe provide me with some eveidence of that? their inerviews? names?
    because everything I hear “some relatives think that he is innicent” and no real facts about it?

  69. Rumbold — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:58 am  

    Camilla:

    I can’t say for certain how I would react in situations that I haven’t experienced. But I would like that think that I could summon the courage to forgive someone, even if only for myself.

  70. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:02 pm  

    and what if some of your relatives would suffer? quite a different thing, isn’t it? forgiving the evil done to you is easier than forgiving the eveil done to your family or friends.

    though its rethorical

  71. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:05 pm  

    i know my point is trivial but it is true. its generosity at other people expense. it sounds noble for someone…

  72. Shuggy — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:08 pm  

    Look, the jury made its decision

    MaidMarian – the Lockerbie trial was held without a jury, the evidence heard and ruled on by 5 judges. This is what they said about this evidence in para 89 of their ruling:

    “We are aware that in relation to certain aspects of the case there are a number of uncertainties and qualifications. We are also aware that there is a danger that by
    selecting parts of the evidence which seem to fit together and ignoring parts which might not fit, it is possible to read into a mass of conflicting evidence a pattern or conclusion which is not really justified.”

    Given that some of the ‘uncertainties’ seem to apply to crucial aspects of the case, some of us are still wondering how they could have possibly then gone on and found Megrahi guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Camilla – Here’s Jim Swire whose daughter was killed in Lockerbie.

    And there’s a radio clip here

  73. Rumbold — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

    Camilla:

    My views on prison are laid out in the article.

    I have always thought justice should be dispassionate. A country should draft its laws and then apply them in a calm manor. While I understand the desire of victims/relatives to call for longer sentences, I am glad that is not part of the judicial process.

  74. douglas clark — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:28 pm  

    camilla,

    Well, that’s the way it works. If you had ‘just cause’ for wanting to kill your enemy, then you might get off with manslaughter rather than murder. For instance a husband killed because he habitually brutalised his wife or the like.

    Or, if the courts had reason to suspect you were acting irrationally, madly even, then, most of the time they’d send you to a secure psychiatric unit. Didn’t Peter Sutcliff try to use the ‘voices in his head’ excuse?

    I think I am right in saying that the only acceptable defence, where death has been the outcome, is self-defence, which could get you off Scot free. (Oh, the irony!)

    These are not the circumstances of this case. I know this probably sounds cruel, but I’d assume that the Justice Minister had a couple of consultants look at him, just to be absolutely sure that he really was terminally ill.

    To be honest I hate these ‘moral dilemma’ questions where the whole thing is a reductio ad adsurdum. Fortunately hardly anyone, anywhere is ever put in that position, in real life. Those that are, are usually haunted by it for the rest of their lives.

  75. MaidMarian — on 24th August, 2009 at 12:43 pm  

    Rumbold (73) – ‘I have always thought justice should be dispassionate. A country should draft its laws and then apply them in a calm manor.’

    Exactly. Once justice starts getting mixed with partizan politics, there are no winners. No one ever said that the rule of law and justice would be easy or would make everyone happy.

    Every now and then there are messy issues where unpalatable outcomes result. Anyone who thinks that justice will always result in ideal outcomes is asking to be deceived and we forget that at our peril.

    I certainly think that if McAskil loses his job over this it would be outrageous.

  76. Andy Gilmour — on 24th August, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

    (peeking out from under rug) Has Camilla gone? yes? phew..

    MaidMarian – “I certainly think that if McAskil loses his job over this it would be outrageous”

    Quite agree. But this afternoon should be very “interesting” all round, not just for Kenny MacAskill…we’ll get to see exactly how partisan and opportunistic the opposition parties are prepared to be. Distinctly unimpressed by the Scottish Lib Dems. Again. :-)

    Shuggy – apologies for pedantry, but the original trial was 3 judges, the appeal was 5. Apparently, simply adding judges doesn’t seem to help the ability to reason. Odd, that.

  77. Refresh — on 24th August, 2009 at 1:46 pm  

    Shuggy

    ‘Given that some of the ‘uncertainties’ seem to apply to crucial aspects of the case, some of us are still wondering how they could have possibly then gone on and found Megrahi guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.’

    Absolutely.

    I may be the only one who is happy to see the ‘controversy’ thunder on. I am glad for the head of the FBI pitching in as I was for Clinton attempting to influence Scotland. Better still was the ‘undiplomatic’ language used by the White House.

    And to top it all, the welcome Megrahi received.

    Why you might ask?

    Very simple, at the end of it all we will be closer to getting an enquiry which might lay bare the truth; and expose the hypocrisy that passes for Statecraft.

  78. Refresh — on 24th August, 2009 at 2:12 pm  

    Isn’t it also odd that should you continue to protest your innocence after conviction you never become eligible for parole?

    That is evidence of the Judicial system pretending it never it gets it wrong.

    So another outcome we should expect is a change in the law which does not demand a prisoner shows contrition in all cases.

  79. Refresh — on 24th August, 2009 at 2:14 pm  

    As for people bent on vengeance – what good vengeance when its the wrong person?

    Where there is doubt, vengeance is meaningless and probably an indication of grief beyond repair.

  80. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 5:52 pm  

    impassionate justice should leave no place to setting free on compassionate grounds. otherwise its not impartial and bends towards the criminal
    sounds like a trick here

  81. camilla — on 24th August, 2009 at 6:00 pm  

    and the previous impassionate justice decision – life sentence – is neglected here, it was correct, for the impassion’s sake it should have remained untouched – but it was corrected

    so there is no point speaking of impassionate justice here or at all – unfortunately compassion is usually towards the criminals

    look, come on, everyone admits that it humiliates the idea of justice – everyone but the Labours and the muslims

  82. falcao — on 24th August, 2009 at 11:09 pm  

    Maid marion

    my opinion is not a conspiracy its based on visible facts.

    America has pushed through heavily business links with libya in past several years. You have many government projects like the US/Libya business alliance if you go on the US government website they openly parade business opportunities in Libya. You have representatives from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Occidental Petroleum and Raytheon, just to name a few knocking on the doors to grab the libyan oil dollars.

    Britian is no different companies like corus, BP,AMEC,GSK of many are seeking their gold at the end of the libyan rainbow. You even have prince andrew suddenly keeping a low profile after visiting libya on weekly basis it seems. Lets not forget ghaddafi is a brutal dictator who kills thousands and locks up even more at the slightest hint of opposition to his rule.

    When it comes to making a quick buck human rights and lives of dead people do not come into the equation for opportunists like the american and british governments. So like i said before i don’t buy the American governments crocodile tears.

  83. Rumbold — on 25th August, 2009 at 9:23 am  

    “look, come on, everyone admits that it humiliates the idea of justice – everyone but the Labours and the muslims.”

    And the veil is lifted.

  84. douglas clark — on 25th August, 2009 at 9:59 am  

    camilla,

    Well I’m neither Labour nor Muslim and I think it was compassionate. I am SNP right enough!

    More seriously, if there was a quid pro quo and it is – so far – very hard to tell, then it is probably just as likely to be part of the Glasnost that came about as a result of Gadafi giving up his WMD programmes. Libya has already seen some benefits from that.

  85. bananabrain — on 25th August, 2009 at 12:10 pm  

    i wouldn’t be at all surprised, douglas, if you were right, after all one nearly-dead terrorist is a pretty small price to pay (PR notwithstanding) for the demise of the libyan WMD programme.

    personally, i don’t think compassion enters into it. i don’t buy that for a moment – look at the furore over the release of ronnie biggs and he wasn’t even a mass murderer.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  86. Dalbir — on 30th August, 2009 at 1:41 pm  

    Leaked letters suggest Government’s Libya deal

    Leaked letters show Jack Straw backed down on a move to exclude the Lockerbie bomber from a prison transfer agreement with Libya.

    Documents revealed in the Sunday Times show the Justice Secretary said it was in the UK’s ‘overwhelming interests’ not to exempt Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi from the agreement, citing ‘wider negotiations’ with the Libyans.

    http://www.orange.co.uk/news/topstories/23460.htm?linkfrom=hp4&link=hero_pos_3_link_body&article=090830x1000x2heronewsleakedletterssuggestlibyadeal

  87. Dalbir — on 30th August, 2009 at 1:47 pm  
  88. Aaron — on 15th September, 2009 at 1:24 pm  

    I think releasing people on compassionate grounds has set an interesting precedent

    Perhaps more people should be freed if they have cancer, and not just from jail

    For instance, terminally ill NHS patients could be released to Bupa on compassionate grounds!

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