Thursday, 20 August 2009

MacAskill to show mercy to Megrahi

[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.



    HE is above plots of the aggressors; And HE is the best HELPER of the oppressed !

    Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi

    who is definitely not
    the PanAm 103 bomber
    is free to go ...

    Mr. Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, cordially welcome in your homeland Libya. We wish you to get well soon.

    MISSION LOCKERBIE: August 20, 2009

    Judges have accepted Mr. Abdulbaset al Megrahi’s request to drop an appeal against his conviction - a move that will open the way for him to return to Libya !

    Lord Hamilton, Scotland's most senior judge, said he had agreed to Megrahi's request to withdraw his appeal, but said there were still legal hurdles to be negotiated before the appeal process could be completely dropped....

    Nevertheless the truth triumphs for Mr Megrahi and Libya! Justice for Abdelbaset Al Megrahi and Libya! Mr Megrahi: Your name and reputation is clean!

    Thank you to Mr Abdulati al-Obidi, the Libyan Minister and former Ambassador, for his successful dedication.
    Thank you to Hon. Justice Hamidi Faraj Fannoush for his truthful words:

    (The Herald)+++ However, a Libyan judge, who was in court yesterday as an "observer" to the hearing, said he should be allowed to return home to his family.

    Honorary Justice Hamdi Fannoush said outside the courtroom that dropping the case was "not in the interests of justice". Mr Fannoush said: Megrahi wanted to clear his name in court but "People want to know what happened but this closes the door on that opportunity. after trying every possible way of getting home to see his family, he felt forced to make this sacrifice. In Libya everyone is talking about this. They believe he is innocent and cannot understand why he is still not home when he is so ill. Judicially nothing more can be done now other than a public inquiry." +++

    We praise the role of al-Gaddafi Development Foundation at Geneva, which is led by the Libyan Leader's son Saif-al-Islam, in returning al-Megrahi to his homeland and family. It added: "We thank Mr Saif-al-Islam al- Gaddafi for all his positive efforts in this and also thank the foundation he leads for its constant care for him and his family through his years in jail."

    Important: Some of the Scottish Officials are the true criminals in the Lockerbie Affair: Ex forensic scientist Dr Thomas Hayes (RARDE) UK, Ex forensic expert Allen Feraday (RARDE) UK and three known persons of the Scottish police are responsible for manipulating evidence in the Lockerbie Affair and are still protected by the Scottish Justice ! (They are not involved in the PanAm 103 bombing, but responsible for the conspiracy against Libya).
    more information on:

    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd. Switzerland

  2. Once Megrahi is safely home, it isn't time to start criminal proceedings against the officials Ebol referred to, the Crown prosecution office and the three trial judges for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

  3. It's extremely offensive to Americans to let this murderer Megrahi receive a hero's welcome in Libya, by no less than the son of the kadafi. Obviously The Scottish authorities dont have any respect for the hundreds of victims killed on that ill-fated flight and all their long-suffering families. My heart goes out to these families who must be feeling their pain all over again. These Scots should be ashamed of themselves and Libyans should expect relations with the US to go downhill from now on!