Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Take Megrahi back to face Scottish jail

[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Herald. It reads in part:]

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, should be extradited back to the UK and returned to a Scottish jail to undergo a health review, according to Labour peer George Foulkes.

Ahead of the second anniversary on Saturday of the release of the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, the former Scotland Office minister said that once the Gaddafi regime fell, Megrahi should be transported back to a Scottish jail.

“He should be extradited back to the UK and put in custody in a Scottish jail and a health review undertaken on whether he should be kept in some kind of secure place. There needs to be a proper examination of his medical condition.”

Responding to calls from politicians in America that, once Tripoli falls, Megrahi should be extradited to the US to face justice there, Lord Foulkes insisted it would be more appropriate for him to be returned to Scotland, where the offence took place. (...)

Lord Foulkes said he accepted that extraditing Megrahi would present First Minister Alex Salmond and Mr MacAskill with a major dilemma, but he argued the decision to release the Libyan, while it might have been taken in good faith, was “manifestly wrong” given that it was based on inaccurate medical evidence that Megrahi had only a short time to live.

“That was two years ago. The decision was manifestly wrong. It needs to be reviewed,” said the Labour peer.

Only last month, the Libyan appeared on TV, attending a rally in support of Colonel Gaddafi.

Thomas Docherty, the Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, insisted Mr MacAskill had made a “terrible mistake” in releasing Megrahi but believed the Scottish judicial process had ended with it.

“It was a hugely embarrassing decision, which damaged Scotland’s standing with America, and if the Americans wish to bring fresh charges, they’re entitled to do so,” explained the backbencher.

Mr Docherty said that if Megrahi were deemed fit, then an independent medical diagnosis should be undertaken to see if he could serve more time behind bars. “But that’s a matter for the Libyans,” he added.

At the weekend, a newspaper survey showed strong support among Scots for Megrahi to be returned to prison either in Scotland (35%) or in Libya (31%), with 24% saying he should remain free. (...)

At the weekend, Jim Swire, father of Flora, who died in the Lockerbie bombing, said he feared US special forces could shoot dead the convicted Libyan in an operation similar to the one that claimed the life of Osama bin Laden.

Dr Swire, a former GP who believes Megrahi to be innocent of the Lockerbie bombing, said: “Presumably, they wouldn’t extract him but kill him on the spot.”

[August is traditionally the silly season in the newspaper industry. It is good to see that Scotland's sillier politicians are upholding that fine tradition. In stark contrast, a sensible letter appears in today's edition of The Scotsman.]

1 comment:

  1. Sensible letter in The Scotsman today from Bob Taylor who manages to spoil it all by referring to Megrahi as the Lockerbie bomber!