Sunday, 31 July 2011

Call for Megrahi to have 'open door' to Scotland

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of Scotland on Sunday. It reads as follows:]

Supporters of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi say he should be allowed to return to Scotland to avoid being extradited to the United States.

The Justice for Megrahi group is calling on the Scottish Government to offer him an "open door" after American senators declared last week that they hoped to persuade Libyan rebels to hand him over if they gain control of the country.

Megrahi's supporters say the Scottish Government should pre-empt such a plan by bringing him back to Scotland to prevent a "diplomatic disaster".

Robert Forrester, of the Justice for Megrahi group, wrote: "It is now of vital importance that the Scottish authorities at least offer Mr al-Megrahi an open door through which to escape his current circumstances if he wishes to do so, not least because so many profound doubts exist over his 2001 conviction."

His comments come after US politicians stepped up their war of words over Megrahi's release after TV images of the bomber were broadcast at a pro-Gaddafi event in Libya last week.

Democrat Senator Robert Menendez said he hoped to persuade a new Libyan government "to extradite Mr al-Megrahi to the United States to pay for his crimes".

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "East Renfrewshire Council, as the supervising local authority, is responsible for monitoring al-Megrahi's release licence, and the council has been able to maintain regular contact with Mr al-Megrahi during the recent conflict in Libya."

[The same newspaper publishes a long article by Eddie Barnes headlined As the anniversary of the Lockerbie bomber's release looms are we any closer to solving the riddle? This focusses on the release of Megrahi and the medical evidence that underpinned it. There are extensive quotes from representatives of US relatives of Pan Am 103 victims but, strangely enough, none from UK relatives whose attitude has always been markedly different. The article does at least recognise that there are doubts about the Megrahi conviction in the following passage:]

Under pressure once again, MacAskill last week repeated the now familiar words he had used two years ago when he told the world that the man found guilty of Britain's worst terrorist atrocity could pack his bags and go home. Megrahi was suffering from a terminal illness; his fate was in the hands of a higher power; the Scottish Government had acted in good faith - and not with reference to any "deals in the desert".

And while MacAskill will find himself under greater pressure, it may be that the focus moves away from the decision to set him free to the decision to convict him in the first place. Last week, Salmond repeated his pledge to publish a confidential report, compiled by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which sets out its reasons for sending Megrahi's conviction back to the Court of Appeal in Edinburgh.

If published, the report, which was locked away after Megrahi dropped his appeal, is likely to put fresh scrutiny on his involvement in the bombing. (...)

Inquiries by Scottish prosecutors remain "ongoing". The Crown Office is examining new evidence to establish whether it can retry Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, Megrahi's co-accused who was found not guilty at the Camp Zeist trial in 2001. Prosecutors are re-examining evidence to see whether it is strong enough to invoke the new double jeopardy law, which allows prosecutors to try someone twice for the same offence.

Meanwhile, US Senators are hoping to use the Libyan revolution to spirit Megrahi back out of Libya to the US. Having watched Megrahi on the TV, Democrat Senator Robert Menendez said last week: "I will continue to work to ensure that any new government in Libya co-operates with efforts to extradite Mr al-Megrahi to the United States to pay for his crimes."

Menendez and veteran fellow Democrat Frank Lautenberg have written to Hillary Clinton urging her to act. As we report today, the Justice for Megrahi group - which insists he is innocent - are calling on the SNP Government to offer Megrahi the option of returning to Scotland if he wishes to avoid what they describe as the threat of his "rendition" to the US. Robert Forrester, the secretary of the group, says: "It is now of vital importance that the Scottish authorities at least offer Mr al-Megrahi an open door through which to escape his current circumstances if he wishes to do so, not least because so many profound doubts exist over his 2001 conviction."

Such a move would be seen as the ultimate betrayal by families in the US, however, many of whom - such as [Frank] Duggan [President of Victims of Pan Am 103 Inc] - believe 100 per cent in Megrahi's guilt, and view those who consider him innocent as hopelessly naive. As he approaches a second anniversary which none of them ever dreamed of experiencing, Duggan's view of matters is understandably cynical. "There is no credible medical evidence. So the conclusion is that the man was let go for what were diplomatic, commercial and political reasons," he says. It may also be a case that a very sick man is clinging on to life, now that he has something to live for. If he continues to do so, he may finally see the riddle of his life finally brought to light.


  1. Mission Lockerbie, 2011:

    Mr. Megrahi please protect your life by Great Britain and return voluntarily to Scotland. Ask for the continuation of your appeal ! This will help the Libyan regime, your family and the families of the victims of Pan Am 103, by opening the "SCCRC-Files" which bring the truth in the "Lockerbie-Affair". All conspirators against Libya would be knocked out. The exculpatory evidence are to day demonstrable, that you and Libya have nothing to do with the PanAm 103 bombing... Please take the chance, so you can enjoy your life unencumbered by a new court decision, as innocent, with your family.

    After this call from MEBO on 27 July '11, the First Minister on 28 July has reaffirmed his intention to publish a confidential report which raises questions over the conviction Abdelbaset Al Megrahi; published on the website of the "Kirriemuir Herald". It reads as follows: Alex Salmond said legislation will be brought forward early in the next Scottish Parliament to allow the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) to publish its statement of reasons for referring Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi's conviction...

    Manipulated Evidence in the "Lockerbie-Case" more on:
    by Edwin and Mahnaz Bollier, MEBO Ltd.. Switzerland.

  2. Face it. His fate is in the hands of a higher power...the U.S.
    Thankfully, they have more pressing issues at home which are stopping them financing anymore foreign adventures to right the wrongs of nations that do not adhere to their red neck values on crime and punishment.

  3. As previously opined on another thread (with slight modification):

    "I described the 'open door' offer to Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as unrealistic.

    "It is also thoroughly impracticable: even if the Libyan government under bombardment by NATO were to agree, Megrahi would have to leave his family behind in Tripoli; he would have to travel by road to Tunisia, and then get a flight to Scotland; the Gaddafi Café would need to be reinstated for him at HMP Greenock; and, Libyan-equivalent standard medical treatment would have to be extended to him.

    "Security, in light of the Cameron/Hague recognition of the NTC rebels this week and the killing of General Younis, is also a big concern.

    "First Minister Salmond and Justice Secretary MacAskill can be expected to bin this idea PDQ: it ain't gonna happen, Robert Forrester!"

  4. "Supporters of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi say he should be allowed to return to Scotland to avoid being extradited to the United States."

    I will say again that I think this approach is a big mistake by the JFM.

    For starters there is no existing agreement under which Megrahi could even be legally "extradited".

    The very idea that we should be doing Megrahi a favour by offering him sanctuary is, to me, ludicrous when there is a more effective line to take.

    JFM should be challenging Salmond to speak publicly about the illegal threats being made by the US in relation to Megrahi.

    They should be challenging him on his silence regarding this matter.

    Megrahi has been tried.

    He has been convicted.

    The US signed up to that deal.

    The US relatives took the compensation.

    He cannot be re-tried by another country which already signed up to the original process.

    Salmond should say this.

    Cameron should say this.

    If it is said then no one needs to worry about bringing Megrahi anywhere.

    And then perhaps we can get on with what matters which is to move ahead with an Inquiry and to get the SCCRC report published.

    I am very disappointed that the JFM has gone the route it has on this one.

  5. "Supporters of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi..."

    If two guys were convicted for the murder and rape of a 5-year old girl, and a group of citizens think the verdict was wrong, I suppose you could call this group "supporters of child rapists and murderers" and get away with it.

    It is simply poor journalism, deliberately or not.

    They could have written "A group that believes that Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was unfairly convicted..."

    @ Jo G,
    When the US can strangulate and bomb countries in peace, and be the direct cause of the violent death of millions of people, do you think they would care about their commitment to the Zeist trial, if there was homeland political gain to be made?

    This is about doing what we can for a person who was clearly wrongly convicted. Not to raise another debate about "legality". Or are you looking for another interesting lecture about what the US constitution would allow?


  6. SM, sorry, this is not about "supporters of Megrahi"! This is about an independent body, the SCCRC coming up with findings which contradict the judiciary. That makes US about more than a wee group of "supporters of Megrahi"!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Sm I'm not about looking for other wee interesting lectures. I'm looking for people to focus on the important stuff actually. But thank you for the put down and good wishes to you too!!!!!!!!!

  8. And PS, I don't give a **** about the US constitution. It is irrelevant here!

  9. SM If you read my post you will note that I also referred to the PM of the UK, Cameron, and the FM of Scotland, Salmond, stating publicly that the threats being made by the US regarding Megrahi would constitute illegal conduct by that country.

    You challenge me for that? What does that make you? It makes you a person who thinks the US governs us all. I'm so sorry but I am not of that persuasion. : )

  10. But you know what makes me laugh on blogs like this SM? The fact that people like YOU attack people like ME.

  11. Hi Jo,
    thank for the attention! Whatever the wording, I am sure we are essentially in the same boat.