Insights from the UK and beyond
Should the Lockerbie bomber be released?
Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, seems likely to be released from prison and sent home on compassionate grounds.
The 57-year-old, who has terminal prostate cancer, is to be released imminently according to Frank Rubino, an American lawyer who worked on his defence team during his trial.
Megrahi was sentenced to life under Scottish law for blowing up a Pan Am airliner over the town of Lockerbie in Scotland as it flew to New York on Dec. 1988. All 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground were killed.
Rubino told Sky television that he had been told that the Libyan would be allowed to go home “in the very near future.”
Libyan authorities have repeatedly lobbied for Megrahi’s release and have accepted responsibility for the bombing, agreeing to pay around 1.6 billion pounds to the families of victims. The relationship between Libya and the West is slowly improving and British defence contractors are expected to benefit from the pariah state’s return to the fold.
Victims’ families are split over reports of the bomber’s release from his Scottish jail cell.
Relatives of some of the British victims said they had never been convinced of Megrahi’s guilt and welcomed the reports of his potential release. Pamela Dix, whose brother died in the attack, told the BBC: “I am not absolutely convinced of Megrahi’s guilt nor of his innocence. We simply at this point do not know enough… to be able to make that judgment.”
Meanwhile, American relatives like Bert Ammerman, whose brother was killed on the flight, believe Megrahi should be left to serve out his life sentence in Scotland. “He should finish out his term in Scotland, pass away and then send him home in a casket.”
What do you think? Is it right that al-Megrahi should be sent home, or should he remain in prison despite his terminal illness?
Related blog: Should the Lockerbie bomber have been released?