Saturday, 29 July 2017

An unpleasant picture

[What follows is the text of a letter from Dr Morag Kerr that was published in The Herald on this date in 2010:]

Has it occurred to the US senators and others who maintain that Megrahi should have remained in prison that, if that had happened, his appeal would not have been withdrawn and would have been decided by now? Any rational examination of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) findings and the evidence as a whole must concede the overwhelming probability it would have been successful, and Megrahi would now be home by right as a free man. Kenny MacAskill may be prevented from “looking behind the appeal”, but the rest of us are under no such constraints, and the conclusion is not difficult to reach.

The notes of MacAskill’s meeting with Megrahi are now public, and reveal an unpleasant picture of a sick and desperate man being treated like a mushroom (kept in the dark and fed manure) in an attempt to pressurise him into dropping his appeal. The hand-written letter from Megrahi [RB: quoted in Megrahi: You are my Jury, page 353] is really quite distressing, when read in the light of the SCCRC report and the striking weakness of the case against him in general. This is not someone who should have escaped on a technicality; this is an innocent man sitting in jail looking at a medical death sentence.

Our criminal justice system and we as a nation are guilty of a far worse crime than taking international relations and trade deals into account when releasing a foreign prisoner. We have convicted a man on evidence that, in my view, wouldn’t support the issuing of a parking ticket, imprisoned him 1,800 miles from home and family, and turned him into an international hate figure while he is in the terminal stages of aggressive prostate cancer.

If any wide-ranging inquiry is appropriate, surely this is the matter that should concern us, rather than silly conspiracy theories linking Megrahi’s release to the Gulf oil spill.

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