Wednesday, 24 August 2011

UK deputy PM wants Lockerbie bomber back in jail

[This is the headline over a Reuters news agency report issued this afternoon. It reads in part:]

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Wednesday he would like to see convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi put back in jail after the overthow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Many US politicians and victims' relatives are pressing for Megrahi's extradition to the United States following his release on compassionate grounds two years ago. (...)

"My personal view is that I would like to see al Megrahi behind bars, because whatever you think he was convicted in a court of law for one of the most atrocious terrorist acts this country has ever seen," Clegg told Sky TV. [RB: That "whatever you think" is interesting. Is it perhaps a reference to the widespread disquiet about the conviction -- disquiet shared most significantly by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission?] (...)

Prime Minister David Cameron, who took office in May 2010, has called the release a mistake.

However, Scotland has responsibility for its own legal system following devolution in 1999.

"At the end of the day this is an issue for the Scottish government alone," said Clegg.

Scottish government sources said Megrahi had abided by the licence terms of his release -- submitting regular medical reports and reporting in though telephone conference calls.

[A related report appears on the BBC News website. In it Dr Jim Swire is quoted as follows:]

"I think he is at great risk of being assassinated, either by the incoming rebels or perhaps being snatched by an American special forces team - I can't know which is the most likely.

"But if he escapes that the question will be how will the rebels - when they are victorious - deal with him?"

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