Saturday, 17 July 2010

Embarrassment all round as Megrahi lives

[This is the heading over a section of Richard Ingrams's column in today's edition of The Independent. It reads:]

By failing to die as predicted by Britain's top cancer specialist, the "Lockerbie bomber" Abdel Basset al-Megrahi has embarrassed David Cameron, who is now worried that the controversy over his release on compassionate grounds could cast a shadow over his visit to Washington next week. Accordingly, our ambassador in Washington, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, has issued an apparently heartfelt statement claiming that Megrahi's release was a mistake and is regretting "the continuing anguish" that it has caused to families of the Lockerbie victims. In addition, it is now claimed that BP was in some way responsible for Megrahi's release, as it helped to further good relations with Libya's Colonel Gaddafi.

While the media pursue these red herrings, the most likely reason for Megrahi's release will go unmentioned. It is generally forgotten that, at the time of his release, he was engaged in a lengthy appeal hearing against his original conviction. Evidence showing the flimsiness of the case against him would have been produced; well-founded allegations of the bribery of witnesses and the possible planting of evidence on the crash site by the CIA would have been aired. It could all have ended with the exposure of one of the most scandalous miscarriages of justice ever acknowledged in a British court. No wonder that in the circumstances the Justice Minister, Jack Straw, was so keen to see the back of Megrahi and the discontinuation of his appeal hearing.

1 comment:

  1. Well, somebody gets it.

    If there was any partiality in the acceptance of the three-month prognosis, perhaps we should remember that Megrahi was released exactly three months before the adjourned appeal was do to resume.

    How compassionate is it to tell a terminally ill man that he has only three months to live, so he can't hope to see his long-delayed appeal come back to court anyway, but if he agrees to adandon it, he can go home to die with his family around him?

    Ironically, if Megrahi had held out and stayed in jail (assuming the Libyan treatment and being with his family wasn't the cause of a marked improvement in prognosis), it's quite possible his appeal might have been concluded by now, and he would have been a free man quite legitimately.

    And the Scottish criminal justice system would be reopening a very cold case to try to find out who murdered 270 people.

    Of course I don't know that's what happened, but it looks a lot more like a duck than any of the ravings of the US senators.