Monday, 12 October 2009

Doha Debates to discuss Megrahi’s release

The Doha Debates will begin their sixth series today, with a discussion on the bitterly-contested release of the Lockerbie bomber.

Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, a Libyan national with terminal cancer, was freed in August by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds, provoking an international outcry and condemnation by US President Barack Obama.

Al Megrahi was the only person convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which came down over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.

The debate, which takes place at Qatar Foundation Headquarters at 7.30pm, will argue the motion that “This House deplores the release of the Lockerbie bomber to Libya”. Debates’ Chairman Tim Sebastian said that most of the comments had so far come from Britain and America.

“It’s time to hear from Arabs themselves about the conflict between justice and compassion. There are moral and practical implications at stake. What message did the release of the bomber send to terrorists around the world, as well as their victims?”

Arguing for the motion is Daniel Kawczynski, British MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libya.

With him is Guma El-Gamaty, a Libyan writer, political commentator and frequent critic of the Libyan regime. He has been living in the UK for more than 30 years.

The panel opposing the motion includes Jim Swire, whose 23-year old daughter Flora was a passenger on the Pan Am flight. Since her death, he has led a high-profile campaign for justice on behalf of UK relatives.

He is joined by Mustafa Fetouri, a Libyan academic and political commentator who writes for a variety of Arab and English language newspapers and is currently MBA Programme Director at The Academy of Graduate Studies in Tripoli.

Besides the BBC World News broadcasts, the Debates can now be followed on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

[From today's edition of The Peninsula, Qatar's largest English language daily newspaper. The article can be read here.]

1 comment:

  1. Megrahi and me

    First they failed to explain how the crime could have been carried out,
    but I didn’t speak up,
    I had my own matters to take care of.

    Then they promised money to witnesses,
    but I didn’t speak up,
    I hadn't seen anything myself.

    Then they withheld evidence from the defense,
    but I didn’t speak up,
    I was not the accused.

    Then the judges picked and chose
    but I didn’t speak up,
    I never had time to understand the case.

    Then they put me on trial,
    though innocent, I got convicted
    Nobody spoke up for me.

    (Freely after Niemoeller)