[What follows is the text of a letter from Dr Jim Swire that was published in the Malta Independent on this date in 2009:]
In demanding that Megrahi should now be removed from his family and returned to a Scottish jail, is not Senator Charles Schumer revealing a lust for revenge?
If the Senator will look at the context of the Lockerbie disaster, he cannot but conclude that it was itself an act of revenge. Either by Iran, for the shooting down of her airbus by the US missile cruiser Vincennes five months before Lockerbie, with the loss of 290 lives, or if he still believes the Zeist court’s verdict, by Libya for the bombing of Tripoli and Bengazi by the USAF in 1986, an attack which led to the death of Gaddafi’s daughter Hanna aged 18 months, and around 30 other citizens.
If the good senator would go to Tripoli and look at the preserved remains of the bedroom in which Hanna died, he will see two pictures on the wall. One is of Hanna and one is of my daughter Flora (murdered at Lockerbie) also at the age of 18 months. Below these is a legend in Arabic and English, which says “the consequence of the use of violence is the death of innocent people”.
My own efforts to get the two accused Libyans to trial were specifically because I believed that was the best way of breaking the cycle of revenge attacks, while the insistence on Scottish rather than US justice was specifically to avoid the death penalty.
I have had letters from the US which have advocated the witholding of morphine from Megrahi ‘so that he would die in agony’, I have heard one American call for the ‘nuking’ of Tripoli. Humans are programmed to seek revenge. It is not a characteristic of which we should be proud.
Would the good senator, who presumably still believes Megrahi to be guilty, despite the SCCRC’s findings that there may have been a miscarriage of justice here, but who cannot help representing US opinion from a nominally Christian country, like to consider whether he is acting in accordance with the words of a Teacher who claimed that we should even (if we can) love our enemies, rather than torture them?
Had the US read the small print of Scottish law before agreeing that any sentence should be served in Scotland, they would have detected the precedent, which Kenny MacAskill used, for compassionate release when death appeared likely within three months. Ask any doctor if he can predict the very day of a patient’s death, such predictions are statistics based and wildly variable.
Adding to the suffering of the man found guilty of the Lockerbie disaster, by taking him from his family again would risk increasing the motive for revenge by Libya again. Is that what the senator would like to see?