A dying man, who is probably innocent, is released from prison to spend his last weeks with his family. The civilised world cries foul.
In 2001 Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi was convicted of 270 counts of murder, following the 1988 bombing of a PanAm flight over Lockerbie in Scotland.
With three months to live, the Scottish Minister of Justice has released him on compassionate grounds, but the rest of the West is not happy.
Jim Swire’s daughter Flora was killed in the bombing. He represents all of the British victims of the attack. Swire has been fighting tirelessly to get Al-Megrahi released – because he is convinced a massive miscarriage of justice has been carried out. Swire believes the real killers are still at large, and Al-Megrahi is a scapegoat.
Still, Barack Obama and UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband are calling his release a mistake and lecturing the Libyan people about appropriate behaviour. That came after fellow prisoners in the Scottish jail shouted abuse at Al-Megrahi and held up placards reading “good riddance Gadaffi”. Meanwhile, Miliband was busy telling-off the uncivilised Libyans for celebrating the release of a man widely thought to be innocent.
But we will never know if Al-Megrahi really was responsible.
The Libyan was appealing against his conviction – legal experts claimed he had a good chance of success. Much of the evidence presented in the original trial has now been discredited. But he had to drop his appeal to be released on compassionate grounds.
Abdelbaset will die a convicted terrorist. And the victims will never see justice. I guess that suits some.