Friday, August 26, 2011
The hunt for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi begins as UK and US Special Forces after Tripoli falls, he technically remains a Scottish prisoner
Given the upheaval in Tripoli and rumours of British Special Forces operating on the ground, it isn’t unsurprising that the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has fled Tripoli.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi is gone according to his neighbour, who said he left his modern villa.
The surge by the rebels in recent weeks has been impressive as Gaddafi’s army has shown to be ineffective against what is a mob with loose command structures.
Megrahi’s neighbour, Dr Hussein Barba, said:
“This man knows too many things. Gaddafi has taken him with him, wherever he is.”
The last part of that is speculation but there are so many people with a vested interest who would like to see Megrahi dead.
Tory MP Liam Fox, the UK Defence Minister is refusing to answer whether the SAS has been deployed in Libya because he says he doesn’t comment on such issues.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said attempts were being made to contact rebel leaders in Libya to determine Megrahi’s whereabouts, but chances are they will not have that information.
Or the time to go looking, they are engaged in a civil war that is all about regime change.
One thing that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill did was to refer to Al Megrahi as “a Scottish prisoner”.
This remains the legal position and the fall of Tripoli and Libya doesn’t change that situation, he cannot be handed over to anyone legally except Scottish authorities.
Kenny MacAskill said:
“We are entering into communications. These matters are difficult but we are seeking to make sure we lock on to the authorities. At present, there is some doubt as to just which parts of Tripoli are controlled by whom. So, we seek to enter into discussions with the appropriate authorities.”
Megrahi is in real danger from all sides, Gaddafi cannot let him be taken alive, the rebels may shot him out of hand; special forces from allied nations are more likely to kill him outright.
Given that Megrahi has fled, this may constitute a technical breach of his licence but lets us be frank, there is a war going on, he is a high value target while the country is unstable and the production of medical reports may have to be put on whole.
Law and order hasn’t been re-established and the rebels aren’t as yet acting as a government.
The Herald newspaper claims that it has been told that, on the ground in Libya, a race is now on between US and UK Special forces to find and seize the convicted terrorist.
I can’t see the Scottish Government asked the UK Government for SAS assistance so what is the British interest?
Technically in their eyes, Megrahi has been legally processed and they have no claim to him.
But by the same token, the Americans don’t have a legal claim either; Megrahi is as the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said a “Scottish prisoner”.
It looks like Megrahi is in real trouble, and from all sides.
Question is, who will put the bullet in him first, Gaddafi, US or UK Special Forces and last but not least the rebels.
Another point is that UK Special forces might capture him as a prize to hand over to the Americans, thereby violating the sovereignty of Scottish legal jurisdiction.
If that happens it would lead to a cross border argument of principle to be had.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University