[This is the headline over the principal Lockerbie report in today's edition of The Scotsman. The following are excerpts:]
Kenny MacAskill will today announce that the Lockerbie bomber is to be released from prison and allowed to go home to Libya on compassionate grounds, The Scotsman understands.
The justice secretary has made his decision and will announce it to the world at a 1pm press conference.
Last night, preparations were under way for the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi from Greenock jail – a decision that will infuriate American relatives of the Lockerbie victims and many United States politicians who are convinced the Libyan is guilty of the worst mass-murder in British legal history. (…)
There has been widespread speculation that Mr MacAskill would go down the route of granting the Libyan compassionate release.
Rumours that Megrahi was to be released intensified yesterday, after news that a police exercise involving motorcycle outriders and a vehicle with blacked-out windows had been undertaken on Tuesday night between Greenock and Prestwick airport.
The convoy was sighted simulating the necessary road and junction closures along the M77 from Glasgow; it was thought to be a rehearsal in preparation for taking Megrahi to catch a flight to Libya.
Mr MacAskill's likely decision means Megrahi could be on his way home as early as today – in time for Ramadan, which begins tomorrow.
The release of Megrahi will delight campaigners who have long believed in the Libyan's innocence. Politicians including Tam Dalyell, the former Labour MP, and Christine Grahame, the South of Scotland SNP MSP, have been long-term campaigners for his freedom.
Those who doubt his guilt say the evidence presented at his trial before three Scottish judges in the Netherlands was not strong enough to convict him.
His release will also please Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
[The same newspaper has an opinion piece by me entitled "Dropping of bomber appeal leaves a black mark on our legal system". Having been prepared hurriedly over the telephone last night, it is not the most polished piece of prose that I have ever produced. It reads as follows:]
The decision to send Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi home through compassionate release is the correct one, not only because I believe him to be innocent, but simply on humane grounds, writes Robert Black.
He is seriously ill and only has a matter of months to live. It would be wrong to keep him in prison. The most unfortunate aspect of the events of the last few days has been the decision by Megrahi to drop his appeal. It potentially leaves a hanging chad over the Scottish judicial system, with many questions about what really happened left to be answered.
Taking this forward, it is clear that the UK government will not countenance any public inquiry into what happened.
They have made it clear – most recently in The Scotsman, that they will block any independent inquiry.
The Scottish Government has suggested that it does not have sufficient powers to hold a worthwhile inquiry into Lockerbie.
However, I disagree with it on this.
I think that there is scope for a review of how well the judicial system performed and to look at whether any lessons need to be learned.
That certainly is within the scope of the devolved powers of the Scottish Government.
It could look at the Scottish criminal justice system and all its aspects: investigation, prosecution and adjudication.
All of them are within the powers of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.
This would not satisfy the relatives, whose primary concern is to know what happened, but to me and the people of Scotland, knowing how the criminal justice system works seems a very important goal.
There are alternatives. There is a chance that the European Union may hold an inquiry. Malta still has the stain of being the place from which the bomb was flown out and it may wish to try to get the EU to start an inquiry.
One of the questions which would have been answered in an appeal is whether the bomb did fly out from Malta.
Then there is the United Nations.
Certainly, the UK and United States would use their Security Council vetoes to stop an inquiry being initiated there, but they have no veto over the UN's General Assembly.
By coincidence, the state that is just about to chair the General Assembly is Libya. So there is a possibility of a UN inquiry.
On other aspects of this case, I think if there was any criticism over how this has been handled in the last few weeks, it is not that justice secretary Kenny MacAskill spoke to people including Megrahi, but that he could have been more confidential about it.
In the end, though, I do not believe that it will damage Scotland's relations with the US.
Much of the reason behind the interventions by politicians such as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is, I believe, posturing for domestic political purposes and little more.
I understand that assurances have been given that Megrahi's return will be low key and that should alleviate any problems.