Punishable until ill

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

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-negrahi arriving in libya

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

The memorial in Lockerbie with the names of the 270 people killed

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2 Responses to “Punishable until ill”

  1. Martin Says:

    Releasing that man was a mistake. For all I care, they should have delivered him by airmail (Thrown from plane minus a parachute) into the crowds awaitng to congratulate him.

    Inhumane? yes. Deserved? Maybe. But did those 270 people deserve their fate? Do I care if he have cancer or not? not really. I may not be a compassionate person (the world is shit), but at least I’m a realist.

    And I realize that releasing that man was one heck of a mistake.

  2. BlingYou Says:

    I think we agree Martin, this issue is much bigger than this isolated case. Releasing terrorists because of illnesses or letting hijackers stay in the country they flew some airplane to, under threat of violence, is just plain wrong. This time it was the Scottish that screwed up, in the above hijacker example it was the Norwegian authorities. If criminals begin to believe that they may in fact achieve their aims, be it terrorism or otherwise, because of our willingness to “forgive and forget” and act humanely, we are on a dangerous path. Life imprisonment should mean life imprisonment and letting him die in prison would send the message that there will be no leniency even if you are terminally ill. I hope that this will not be an example that others will follow.

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