Thursday, August 25, 2011
Nick Clegg gives personal view that Al Megrahi should be sent back to jail, Tories running FO show on Libya means Clegg is fighting to be relevant
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg decided to express a ‘personal view’ that the Lockerbie bomber should be "behind bars".
So, what is his UK Government view?
Well, that appears to be the matter is an issue for the Scottish Government.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds from Greenock jail about two years ago and immediately left Scotland for Libya.
So far there are no grounds on which to revoke his licence of parole.
Clegg isn’t even asking for the licence to be revoked as a Minister of the Crown.
Whether people like it or not, Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds this means he has the right to be treated the same as any other prisoner under the rules.
The revolution in Libya doesn’t change his status in the eyes of the Scottish Government or East Renfrewshire Council.
Is it worth bring him back?
Given the diagnosis is terminal cancer; I would say not, it has been reported that he is on special drugs to combat his illness.
But it is a cure, just an extension.
He has outlived his three-month prognosis from terminal prostate cancer but medicine isn’t an exact science despite all the hitech that surrounds it.
End of the day, people, doctors make an educated guess.
Megrahi is thought to be still in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, the last time he was in contact with Scottish authorities was 8th August but things have changed dramatically on the ground there with the rebel advance reaching the heart of the city.
Clegg says the SNP administration in Edinburgh should "reflect" on the changing picture in Libya, where rebels are fighting to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi.
"My personal view is that I would like to see Megrahi behind bars. Whatever you think, he was convicted in a court of law of one of the most atrocious terrorist acts that this country has even seen. This is an issue for the Scottish Government and the Scottish Government alone."
Talk about being mealy mouthed.
Asked if he should be put behind bars in Scotland, Clegg said:
"He's been released for reasons that we know, he's released on licence. You can't re-try someone several times - that's not what is at stake here. It's for the Scottish Government to reflect on how the circumstances have changed. I'm just expressing my own view, which I did at the time, which is that this is a man that was convicted of a terrible, terrible atrocity."
The situation in Libya changes nothing, if Megrahi felt his safety was in doubt, he could come back to Scotland and we would have to let him live out the rest of his days here.
There are several questions still hanging over the Lockerbie bombing which need to be cleared up for the families and those involved in the case. Whether the incoming new Libyan government could shed light on the Lockerbie bombing is still up for grabs.
Clegg appears to be shut out of the government response over Libya, it’s a complete Tory run show as far as I can tell; the Lib Dems have been sidelined.
This appears to be Clegg’s attempt to try and stand on the international stage and seems more about raising his profile than anything else.
If Megrahi hasn't violated the terms of his release then he cannot be touched, this shouldn’t be a political football because of circumstance.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University