Was it right to release the Lockerbie bomber ?

August 20, 2009

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, has been released from prison in Scotland and sent home on compassionate grounds.

The 57-year-old, who has terminal prostate cancer 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 in December 1988. All 259 passengers and crew and 11 people on the ground were killed.

Libyan authorities 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.

Families of the victims are split over 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 release. Others, especially the American relatives, take a harder line.

What do you think? Is it right that al-Megrahi should be on his way home, or should he remain in prison despite his terminal illness?


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It was completely wrong to release this monster even on compassionate grounds. The families of those American college students killed over Lockerbie still grieve their losses and only wish they could see their loved ones one more time.

Posted by eileen crivelli | Report as abusive

he was released on compassionate grounds. We are all appalled at the murder of the 270 innocent people by him or by the agents of another power but the man is going to die. And he is going to be judged by someone far better placed than us. The fact we showed mercy is better than wanting revenge.

Posted by Ian | Report as abusive

Scotland should be proud of the decision MacAskill took. It was based on the application of the law and on the basic principles that defines Scottish morality that makes us respected abroad. We dont need lessons in justice from the United States. Their punishments are based on retribution and revenge. Ours are based on the finest ideals of justice, and where appropriate, mercy. The Justice Secretary took a difficult decision, definitely not the easy populist decision, but certainly the right decision.

Posted by fred | Report as abusive

Even if he is guilty, the US now might know the feeling engendered by their nation & Libya funding the IRA

Posted by William Fletcher | Report as abusive

Good to know that sanity prevails in Scotland.

Posted by caroline vintrust | Report as abusive

What, all we all of a sudden giving out FREE Lunches? Since when??? Under what premise? Did this guy learn his lesson? Who knows, right? Well I guess we’ll have to find out the hard way, maybe???

Posted by henryyoung | Report as abusive

It is a disgrace that this man has been released, i feel we have been let down by our legal system and by a small number of people who do not represent the true wishes of the British Public.

Posted by G Scott | Report as abusive

Year by year, the disincentive to commit crime in the United Kingdom, is being eroded.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

Sorry can’t understand why we should be compassinate, he obviously didn’t show any compassion as he killed nearly 300 innocent people. It once again makes scotland a total laughing stock. The great train robber ronnie biggs had to fight for years to get compassionate release and that has only just happened and tell me how many people did he brutally murder???
It leaves me with absoloutly no confidence in the scottish legal system.
He gets to go home and spend his last, hopefully slow and agonising days with his family, what have the widows and other devasted famillies got to go on.
Thanks to this terrorist and his scum-bag cowardly organisation they are once again left to pick up the pieces!!

Posted by Dunoon Blue Boy | Report as abusive

We can either behave as badly as criminals or we can behave better than them; we can either wreak vengeance or dispense justice; we can either be morally equal or morally superior. These are all choices we can make. Thankfully, the Scottish Justice Minister yesterday showed that we are capable of taking the better, but harder route.

The mindless clarion-calls screaming for vengeance should be ignored, since they represent a regressive element of society rather than an evolving, progressive one. The direction in which they point leads to wars, terrorism and tragedy.

In choosing whether to lead from the front or be a part of a mindless pack herd, I am glad that yesterday we chose to lead from the front.

Posted by Paul Harper | Report as abusive

If you were around at the time, you’d know what a frame-up this was. It was unbelievable literally & metaphorically.
And the US didn’t jail the crazy naval captain who shot down the Iranian airliner. BBC had a (?) Horizon program with Pentagon data showing how criminal that was.
Of course the murders remain terrible. And I feel genuinely sad. But maybe it’s a chance to review the case.

Posted by malc (scot) cochran | Report as abusive

Perhaps it’s time for truth & honesty not ranting rhetoric. Had the US Government prosecuted the Captain of the USS Vincennes following the shooting down of an Iranian airliner in July 1988, killing all 290 people – it’s doubtful that the Pan Am bombing in December 1988 would ever have happened.

To this day no condolences or heartfelt apology has ever been offered by the US Government to these heartbroken and grieving relatives in Iran.

Posted by Rebecca G | Report as abusive

Put a bounty on his head with money collected from family of survivors. Also all travel to Scotland should be canceled. Western Countries should initiate sanction/boycott on Scotland for specific amount of time.

Posted by jane klein | Report as abusive

When was justice and compassion shown by the USofA when the USS Vincennes shot down the Iranian airliner killing 300. who was brought to trial for that crime?

Posted by dave s | Report as abusive

Just putting in a little tangential here. What is the EU position on this one? they are normally quite overriding in their treatment of an otherwise passive GB. They do seem relatively silent on this one.
Paul Harpers comment appeals to me, but he,d better skate fast though, he,s on thin ice.

Posted by Libra | Report as abusive

So disappointed in the release of a convicted terrorist. I thought the country of Scotland was strongly against terrorism, but as we have learned. It is sending a very dangerous message to the world.
I can not believe that what I thought was a civilized nation could actually spear leniency to a terrorist,
But what do you expect from a nation that deep fry’s cakes and candy!!!!

Posted by Marshall | Report as abusive

Disappointing. Whilel some might think it compassionate to let him go it is certainly not the justice that was due him or the people whom he killed. Vengence? No vengence is killing the man’s family for what he did. Trial and court of law with a life sentces? Justice.

Letting him out without finishing his sentence? Injustices and the reopening of wounds for the familys who lost loved ones, let alone for those that worked so hard to find him, by picking through torn up body parts and unopened Christmas presents for their families. Just a thought less gester, lost on Lybians and hurtful toward allies and friends. Or is America an ally an friend? If sure Lybia never gave hundreds of thousands of lives twice to save Scotland.

Posted by Boris | Report as abusive

I wish people would learn to spell properly before ranting on about other peoples’ ideas…. what will become of this country?

Posted by bella | Report as abusive

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