Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Megrahi "punishment part" set at 27 years

[What follows is excerpted from a report in The Guardian on this date in 2003:]

The man convicted of killing 270 people in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing was today told he must serve at least 27 years in jail.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi appeared before three judges at the high court in Glasgow for the brief hearing, in which he was told what part of his life term would count as the "punishment part" of his sentence - in effect, what period he must serve before he could even be considered for parole. (...)

The hearing before the three judges, who originally sentenced him at a Scottish court convened at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, was held at Court No 3 at the high court in Glasgow's Saltmarket - the securest court in Scotland.

Today's hearing was a consequence of the European convention on human rights being incorporated into Scottish law in 2001, nine months after Megrahi was sentenced.

The legal change meant all existing and future lifers in Scotland must be told the length of the punishment part of their sentences. (...)

Two months ago Megrahi applied to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for a review of his sentence and conviction. The commission is still considering his application.

[Here is what I wrote on the subject eight years ago:]

On 24 November 2003, the High Court of Justiciary, sitting in Glasgow, determined that Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi, convicted on 31 January 2001 in the Scottish Court in The Netherlands for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, should serve 27 years in prison before becoming eligible for release on licence from his life sentence. The trial judges' original recommendation that he serve at least twenty years of the life sentence before being considered for release, required to be reconsidered following changes in Scots penal law following the incorporation into domestic law of the European Convention on Human Rights. The "punishment part" of 27 years now imposed (by the same three judges as had imposed the original sentence) was backdated to April 1999, when Megrahi was remanded in custody to await trial. Both the Crown and the defence have appealed the 27-year punishment part, but it is unlikely that these appeals will be heard unless and until Megrahi's new appeal is dismissed.

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