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Old 08-20-2009, 09:01 AM   #1
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Compassionate Release For Lockerbie Bomber

Should mercy be shown to him or should he have to die in prison?


Scotland frees terminally ill Lockerbie bomber
By BEN McCONVILLE, Associated Press Writer

EDINBURGH, Scotland – Scotland's government freed the terminally ill Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds Thursday, allowing him to die at home in Libya despite American protests that mercy should not be shown to the man responsible for the deaths of 270 people.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's condition had deteriorated from prostate cancer. Al-Megrahi had only served some eight years of a life sentence, but MacAskill said he was bound by Scottish values to release him.

"Our belief dictates that justice be served but mercy be shown," MacAskill said, ruling that al-Megrahi "be released on compassionate grounds and be allowed to return to Libya to die."

"Some hurts can never heal, some scars can never fade," MacAskill said. "Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive ... However, Mr. al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power."

Al-Megrahi, 57, was convicted in 2001 of taking part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 on Dec. 21, 1988. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The airliner — which was carrying mostly American passengers to New York — blew up as it flew over Scotland. All 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground died when the aircraft crashed into the town of Lockerbie.

The former Libyan intelligence officer was sentenced to serve a minimum of 27 years in a Scottish prison for Britain's deadliest terrorist attack. But a 2007 review of his case found grounds for an appeal of his conviction, and many in Britain believe he is innocent.

The White House said it "deeply regrets" the decision to free al-Megrahi.

"As we have expressed repeatedly to officials of the government of the United Kingdom and to Scottish authorities, we continue to believe that Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland," it said in a statement. "On this day, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who live every day with the loss of their loved ones."

Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned MacAskill urging him not to release al-Megrahi, and seven U.S. senators wrote a letter with a similar message.

The Times of London reported Thursday that the private jet of Libya's leader, Moammar Gadhafi, was to collect al-Megrahi at Glasgow Airport after he was released.

Al-Megrahi's trial and conviction led to a major shift in Libya's relationship with the West.

Gadhafi engineered a rapprochement with his former critics following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He renounced terrorism, dismantled Libya's secret nuclear program, accepted his government's responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the victims' families.

Western energy companies — including Britain's BP PLC — have moved into Libya in an effort to tap the country's vast oil and gas wealth.

Gadhafi has lobbied for the return of al-Megrahi, an issue which took on an added sense of urgency when he was diagnosed with cancer last year. His lawyers say his condition is deteriorating and doctors have given him less than three months to live.

The question of freeing al-Megrahi has divided Lockerbie families, with many in Britain in favor of setting him free, and many in the U.S. adamantly opposed.

British Rev. John Mosey, whose daughter Helga, 19, died in the attack, said Wednesday he would be glad to see al-Megrahi return home.

"It is right he should go home to die in dignity with his family. I believe it is our Christian duty to show mercy," he said.

But American families have largely been hostile to the idea.

"I'm totally against it. He murdered 270 people," said Paul Halsch of Perinton, New York, who lost his 31-year-old wife in the attack. "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."

Peter Sullivan of Akron, Ohio, whose college roommate Mike Doyle died at Lockerbie, said he believed Britain was putting commercial interests before the interests of the victims' relatives.

"The interest of big oil should not be the basis of a miscarriage of justice to let a murderer of 270 people be released," Sullivan said.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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I believe in mercy, but he shouldn't have been set free. I would have no problem if he was moved to a more comfortable prison setting where he can receive better care and die in some comfort, but pain doesn't warrant freedom.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:34 PM   #3
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I don't really have an opinion on this. (shocking, I know).

But there were some really angry familiar members of the victims on NPR this morning. They say he's going to get a heroes welcome in Libya. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but if it is that alone would be enough for me to say they ought to keep him in prison. I don't think it's right to let him go and allowed him to be lionized and feted for what he did. (So I guess I do have an opinion on this. . .)
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:52 PM   #4
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Yes I read that he was getting a hero's welcome-unless they had to go to the hospital first.

The judge said that his lack of compassion for his victims should not be a reason for Scotland to deny compassion to him. Even for the taking of 270 innocent lives. Saying that compassion should not be conditional as a general statement is one thing, but I would imagine that for their families it's a different story. They say he got compassion getting life rather than death because Scotland doesn't have the death penalty.

Should compassion be conditional and what should the "requirements" and limits be? Maybe that's the larger question.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:56 PM   #5
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The strange thing about this is that he probably didn't do the bombing. It was much more likely Iranian linked.

That's the real story here, to me.


Quote:
Col Gadaffi’s regime eventually paid out £1.4 million in compensation to the families of the victims but that was seen by those sceptical of the new theory as one just of the deals which brought him back into the international fold and Al Megrahi was sacrificed for the same end.
Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of those killed, said after the trial into the bombing "I went into that court thinking I was going to see the trial of those who were responsible for the murder of my daughter. I came out thinking he had been framed. I am very afraid that we saw steps taken to ensure that a politically desired result was obtained.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...e-1767682.html

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There is, in my opinion (not necessarily shared by the families), an explanation for all this, an explanation so shocking that no one in high places can contemplate it. It is that the Lockerbie bombing was carried out not by Libyans at all but by terrorists based in Syria and hired by Iran to avenge the shooting down in the summer of 1988 of an Iranian civil airliner by a US warship. This was the line followed by both British and US police and intelligence investigators after Lockerbie. Through favoured newspapers like the Sunday Times, the investigators named the suspects - some of whom had been found with home-made bombs similar to the one used at Lockerbie.
This line of inquiry persisted until April 1989, when a phone call from President Bush senior to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher warned her not to proceed with it. A year later, British and US armed forces prepared for an attack on Saddam Hussein's occupying forces in Kuwait. Their coalition desperately needed troops from an Arab country. These were supplied by Syria, which promptly dropped out of the frame of Lockerbie suspects. Libya, not Syria or Iran, mysteriously became the suspect country, and in 1991 the US drew up an indictment against two Libyan suspects. The indictment was based on the "evidence" of a Libyan "defector", handsomely paid by the CIA. His story was such a fantastic farrago of lies and fantasies that it was thrown out by the Scottish judges.
In Britain, meanwhile, Thatcher, John Major and Blair obstinately turned down the bereaved families' requests for a full public inquiry into the worst mass murder in British history.
It follows from this explanation that Megrahi is innocent of the Lockerbie bombing and his conviction is the last in the long line of British judges' miscarriages of criminal justice. This explanation is also a terrible indictment of the cynicism, hypocrisy and deceit of the British and US governments and their intelligence services. Which is probably why it has been so consistently and haughtily ignored.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/ma...ockerbie.libya
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:12 PM   #6
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Some of the news sources here in Australia have also floated the idea that Libya may have taken some responsibility to allow itself back in the international community by showing they were tough on terrorism - state sanctioned or otherwise. Bizarre. I do remember when it actually happened that fingers were pointed at Iran but then they suddenly weren't.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:32 PM   #7
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A good argument for capital punishment.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
A good argument for capital punishment.
So, it was said at the time, were the convicted 'Birmingham Six bombers'.

Birmingham Six - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


This is why I've said all along that although I strongly approve of the death penalty on moral grounds, the risks and consequences of a miscarriage of justice are too great to implement it except in very rare cases, e.g., war crimes, genocide, child murder, etc.

If we are going to apply capital punishment in cases of terrorism, then surely we must be consistent and start with Tony Blair and George W. Bush, otherwise we are just hypocrites.
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
A good argument for capital punishment.
In what world?
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Old 08-21-2009, 04:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by BVS View Post
In what world?
The world in which, oh what's Obamaspeak for it now?

Oh yea, the world in which man-caused disasters kill innocent civilians.
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
The world in which, oh what's Obamaspeak for it now?

Oh yea, the world in which man-caused disasters kill innocent civilians.
Obamaspeak? What's that?

Smells of a cheap shot to me. . .
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
The world in which, oh what's Obamaspeak for it now?

Oh yea, the world in which man-caused disasters kill innocent civilians.
So even though there is no 100% absolute knowledge this man is guilty, the label of "terrorist" makes it a good argument for capital punishment? I'm not seeing your point.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
The world in which, oh what's Obamaspeak for it now?
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
Oh yea, the world in which man-caused disasters kill innocent civilians.
Weak, I'm afraid.

The relevance is?
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
A good argument for capital punishment.
wow.
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by maycocksean View Post
Obamaspeak? What's that?

Smells of a cheap shot to me. . .
No, actually I think the president has said the right things about this particular situation.

Behind the scenes I hope he's showing his displeasure even more strongly.
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