Compassion for the Lockerbie bomber?

Welcome home to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi who was reunited with his family and friends in Tripoli today! I was relieved to see that the Scottish government chartered a jumbo jet to securely fly him home to his native Libia with all the comforts and security of a visiting dignitary.

Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi

Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi

The man was accused and convicted by a Scottish court of planting a bomb aboard PANAM flight 103. Four days before Christmas in December 1988 the bomb exploded inside the jet. It killed 259 people on the aircraft and another 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie Scotland.

The judge said that since Abdel has prostate cancer he should be allowed to return to Libia so he can die in the comfort of his own home surrounded by his loved ones. The grounds cited were “compassionate grounds”.

Symbol of compassion

Symbol of Scottish compassion

Nice thought. I like compassion. I really wish he has displayed the same compassion to the 270 people he killed. When your airplane is blown out of the sky with c4 concealed in a Toshiba boom-box packed into a suitcase, well, you don’t get to die at home surrounded by loved ones. You get blasted into the cold air as the plane splits apart and then, strapped into your seat, you fall though the dark night to the ground thirty thousand feet below. That takes a while. Then, of course, there are the victims who died on the ground. A slightly better death I imagine only because it was quicker.

A woman (still strapped into her seat) found dangling from a rooftop in Lockerbie the morning after.

The body of a woman found dangling from a rooftop (still strapped into her seat) in Lockerbie the morning after.

I really wish all these people had been afforded the compassion of dying at home. But since they did not: Why, exactly, is Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill affording this compassion to Abdel Basset al-Megrahi? As I see it the real punishment of a life sentence is the prospect and ultimate reality of dying alone in prison.

There are some who claim he is innocent and was framed. “I am delighted. I don’t think he had anything to do with it and I think he was effectively framed,” Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the bombing, told Reuters. Great. Why don’t you and others like Kenny MacAskill and the former UK Labour MP Tam Dalyell, produce evidence to overturn the verdict? Why not produce the real culprits? At least compel the Scottish court to make a formal proclamation that despite his failed appeals for release, they have been holding the wrong man for 8 years. Then let him go home.

But that is not what the Scottish court did. It maintained that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi murdered 270 people and in the same breath said that serving 8 years is enough due to their compassion for the man. By the same logic someone who murders only one person in cold blood should serve 10.8 days in jail. Very compassionate for the murderer. What about the victim?

A few of those who died a less compassionate death in Lockerbie Scotland

A few of those who died a less compassionate death in Lockerbie Scotland

The Lockerbie bomber has been sent home to Libya to die. I hope he succeeds. Soon. Because there is no compassion in setting a convicted murder free after 8 years of a life sentence.

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4 Responses to “Compassion for the Lockerbie bomber?”


  1. 1 nonrhotic August 31, 2009 at 1:07 am

    FROM REUTERS:
    Lockerbie bomber release “linked to oil deal”: report

    Sun Aug 30, 10:46 am ET
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain agreed to include Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi in a prisoner transfer deal with Libya because of “overwhelming interests” shortly before an oil deal was sealed with Tripoli, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
    The Sunday Times said leaked letters from Justice Secretary Jack Straw undermined government denials of a link between the former Libyan agent’s freedom and British trade interests.
    Megrahi, 57, was released from jail on August 20 after Scottish authorities said his terminal cancer gave compassionate grounds for him to return home to die.
    The British government has distanced itself from the decision, made by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, which has angered many relatives of the bombing’s victims and the United States government, which lost 189 citizens.
    Megrahi was the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie that killed 270 people. His rapturous reception in Tripoli has been criticized by the British and U.S. governments.
    The Sunday Times said two letters from Straw, dated five months apart, showed he reversed an original plan to exclude Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement that was being discussed with Libya.
    The paper said the change of heart appeared to be linked to a stalled $900 million oil and gas exploration deal with Libya for British oil giant BP that was ratified a few weeks later.
    BP has always denied any link between the deal and the prisoner agreement.
    Straw wrote to MacAskill in July 2007 to say he favored excluding Megrahi from the prisoner transfer, an arrangement desired by the Scottish administration which has autonomous powers over most criminal matters.
    But by December 2007 he told MacAskill his position had changed.
    “The wider negotiations with the Libyans are reaching a critical stage and, in view of the overwhelming interests for the United Kingdom, I have agreed that in this instance the (prisoner transfer agreement) should be in the standard form and not mention any individual,” the Sunday Times quoted Straw as writing.
    Straw told BBC radio the alleged link between trade and Megrahi’s release was an “absurd confection.”
    “The suggestion that at any stage there was some kind of backdoor deal done over Mr Megrahi’s transfer because of trade is simply untrue,” he said
    The negotiations on prisoner transfers were part of a “normalization process” with Libya, he said.
    London had made clear to Tripoli that Scotland would retain an absolute right to refuse a prisoner transfer, he added,
    Straw said the issue was “academic” given that Scotland eventually released Megrahi on compassionate grounds and not under the transfer agreement.
    (Reporting by Tim Castle; editing by Robin Pomeroy)

  2. 2 nonrhotic September 5, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Oil Part of Lockerbie Talks, Official Says
    By JILL LAWLESS

    LONDON (Sept. 5) – Trade and oil considerations played a major role in the decision to include the Lockerbie bomber in a prisoner transfer agreement between Britain and Libya, a senior British official said in an interview published Saturday.
    Justice Secretary Jack Straw said trade, particularly a deal for oil company BP PLC, was “a very big part” of the 2007 negotiations that led to the prisoner deal. The agreement was part of a wider warming of relations between London and Tripoli.

  3. 3 nonrhotic July 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Surprise,Surprise,Surprise. Guess who is alive and well and living the high life in Tripoli. Abdel Basset al-Megrahi “was released after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and told he had three months to live. Nearly one year on from his release he is still alive.”

    “What prompted this rare admission of guilt by the U.K. government was the revelation that a major prisoner transfer agreement with Libya was signed by the former Labour government in 2007 in the very same year that BP inked a $900 million oil exploration agreement with Libya. Further, BP admitted to lobbying the erstwhile U.K. government to get the prisoner deal signed.”

    Full story here: http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article520840.ece

  4. 4 debra (@DebraJeanTw) December 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Is he still living the high-life?


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