[This is the headline over an article in The Daily Beast by Brian Flynn, brother of one of the US victims of the destruction of Pan Am 103. It reads in part:]
During the next two decades [after the disaster] , we lobbied to hold responsible the companies that could have prevented the attack: Pan Am was convicted of gross negligence and willful misconduct. My mother served on both presidential commissions that investigated the causes of the bombing and improved airline security, and I helped her as a researcher. We lobbied Congress to enact the Iran Libya Sanctions Act, which ultimately put enough pressure on Libya to hand over the indicted Libyan agents who perpetrated the crime. And, we sat in that courtroom listening to months of damning—and conclusive—evidence. Eventually, Abdel Baset al Megrahi was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. And although he would be the only man to pay for the atrocity, we felt in a small way that some justice had been served.
Little did we know, we would be betrayed. Out of the blue, I got a phone call from the British Embassy, telling me that Megrahi was being considered for release. Days later, we found ourselves in a surreal argument via videoconference with the minister of justice in Scotland. We thought we made inarguable points: “You cannot release an unrepentant mass murder for any reason, especially to the people and government that paid him to do it,” I told him. “Releasing him would make a mockery of the justice system and embolden terrorists around the world. It doesn’t matter if he is sick. He can get palliative care in prison like the dozens of people that die of natural causes in Scottish prisons every year.”
How could they not know that Megrahi would receive a hero’s welcome in Libya? How could they not suspect that he might miraculously be cured and live for years?
When Megrahi was released days later, this blatant act of betrayal robbed us of that one shred of justice. It made us feel that our decades of effort were worth nothing. As we have now learned, the Scots did it for the least surprising reason: money. The deal seemed to have been a perfect storm of ulterior motives: BP was directly lobbying the UK government to get Megrahi released so they could win oil contracts while, at the same time, Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, was traveling around the Middle East raising capital from sovereign wealth funds there. One of them, the Qatar Investment Authority, directly stated that it would “not be good for Megrahi to die in prison.” This was two months before we met with the Scottish minister.
Since Megrahi’s release, we have demanded to see proof that he was to die in three months. It seemed all too convenient and, as we now know, the reason given was inherently fraudulent. The Scottish justice department ignored specific medical evidence about life expectancy. In fact, not ONE cancer specialist consulted would give the three-month death sentence required for compassionate release.
So, it seems I am not done pursuing justice for my older brother as people continue to dishonor the 270 victims. Our mission now is to hold these charlatans responsible. The Scottish ministers should be forced to resign, and then tried on corruption charges. Megrahi should be returned to prison.
Daniel Webster said justice is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together. Through the years, I often thought: Am I really just seeking revenge, veiled in a cloak called justice? But I don’t think so. Justice—in and of itself—is worthy of relentless pursuit. If we let convicted mass murderers out of prison, or allow our public servants to sell prison releases, then we tear at that ligament apart, and threaten the very fabric of civilized society itself.
[It is sad to see such a passionate article ignoring completely the fundamental aspects of justice (a) that accused persons should be convicted only where the evidence warrants it and where evidence that might cast doubt on guilt is not withheld by the prosecution and (b) that when miscarriages of justice occur and are detected they should be speedily rectified.]