Thursday, August 20, 2009
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi goes home
Today the SNP Scottish Government took a courageous and difficult step by freeing on compassionate grounds the man known as the Lockerbie Bomber.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi has now left Scotland on board a plane bound for Libya after being freed from Greenock Prison.
The decision to release Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer was the correct one but it has attracted considerable anger in some quarters, The White House said it "deeply regretted" the decision and some of the US victims' families have expressed outrage at the decision.
A police convoy left Greenock Prison, where Megrahi was serving his sentence, more than an hour after the announcement of his release was made to take him to Glasgow Airport.
Megrahi then boarded an Afriqiyah Airways Airbus plane bound for Tripoli, which took off shortly before 1530 BST.
Megrahi will now spend his final days back home with his family and possibly reflect on the circumstances of his life.
The SNP Government said it had consulted widely before Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made his difficult decision.
What does this decision say about the SNP Government and Scotland; I would say it proves that Scotland has grown up and is not afraid to take the difficult decisions anymore, that justice rather than just a word is starting to germinate again.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Megrahi’s his release would be "absolutely wrong".
She patently doesn’t understand the true nature of justice and her remarks are possibly more about running for Presidency at some future date.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement;
"The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi”.
Given the damage caused by the Bush Administration; I feel that statement has little value.
Some of the family of the victims have expressed themselves in pretty clear terms;
Kara Weipz, of Mt Laurel, New Jersey said;
"I don't understand how the Scots can show compassion. It is an utter insult and utterly disgusting”.
Paul Halsch, whose 31-year-old wife was killed, said;
"This might sound crude or blunt, but I want him returned from Scotland the same way my wife Lorraine was and that would be in a box."
Those are understandable feelings from relatives who lives were shattered, people want vengeance for wrong doing.
But the facts are that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi wasn’t given a fair trial and evidence was withheld.
Does the end justify the means? I would say not.
Without the justice of a fair trial, society has nothing.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds, those grounds show what we as a people stand for.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University