Today the news had a story about the person responsible for the Lockerbie attack, where Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down by a bomb over the village of Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988. 270 people were killed in the attack, including 11 on the ground. 180 of the victims were American and this was the most deadly strike on the US prior to the 911 attacks.
Debris of Pan Am Flight 103
In 2001 Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer, was sentenced to life in prison for the attack and he has been serving in Scotland since.
All well and good one might think, since he got life in prion. That would mean that he will remain in prison until the end of his life, not getting out until he is nose up in a box.. (dramatic pause) NOT!
Al-Megrahi arriving in Tripoli, Libya
The Scottish authorities have decided that he should be pardoned on compassionate grounds, since he is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and has less than three months to live. He has been allowed to travel back to Libya to spend his remaining days with his family and received a hero’s welcome by thousands of Libyans when arriving in Tripoli.
There has been a number of protest agains the pardoning of al-Negrahi, both from US authorities and other governments around the world. Also, the families of the victims of the bombing have protested, but to no avail. The Scottish authorities believes in humane treatment, and I agree in principle, and letting this criminal die in prison alone was, in their view, inhumane. Those who disagree make a very valid point when saying through their lawyer: “He showed no compassion to the victims, and he’s lived two decades more than any of their loved ones have”
This terrorist and mass murderer should have stayed in jail until dead, it would have been the only sensible thing to do. Not because we want to torment him or his family, but because this sets a dangerous precedence for future criminal acts of the same nature. If you are sick from something terminal you really don’t have much to loose when committing a criminal or terrorist act anymore, you will be let out to die at home, no matter what. This is perhaps not the complete truth, but it will be an easy selling point when recruiting those that are not willing to blow themselves up but still want to contribute to “the cause”, whatever cause that may be.
I believe that this was a foolish and short sighted call from the Scottish, they should have foreseen the controversy and outrage this has caused, and the screwed up signals they are sending to would be criminals and terrorists. There is nothing inhumane or incompassionate about nursing a convict until he dies in the prison hospital, with his family around him, rather than as a free man and a hero of the people in the same country that financed the terrorist act in the first place.
This was a really bad and potentially dangerous call, so shame on you Scotland.
The memorial in Lockerbie with the names of the 270 people killed