On air: Was it right to release the Lockerbie bomber?

Lockerbie bomberHe’s going home. The man convicted of killing 270 people in the 1988 bombing of a Pam Am flight over the Scottish town in Lockerbie, has been released from prison on compassionate grounds. Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi is already on his way home to Libya, where it is believed he will die of prostate cancer within three months.

In making his decision, the Scottish Justice Minister has brought earned the ire of plenty of people. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pleaded that it would be “absolutely wrong” to release him. Many American families of the victims agreed with her, and the White House has already issued a statement expressing ‘deep regret’.

But in Scotland, many of the victims’ families supported al-Megrahi’s release – generally because of widely held questions over the safety of his convcition.

Last week we talked about whether people convicted of serious crimes should ever be released on compassionate grounds. That’s still a very valid question to ask today, but his release also throws up other issues.

Libya sits on the largest oil reserves in Africa, oil reserves many companies are keen to have access too. Two years ago, then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair laid the foundations for Al-Megrahi’s release by agreeing a prisoner transfer deal with Libya. Just a few hours later British oil company BP announced a multi-million dollar deal to search for oil in the country.

Scotland says Al-Megrahi’s release was agreed only taking into account the law relating to compassion. But there are many who say it also has to do with improving ties with a potential major oil source.

Al-Megrahi’s freedom also throws back into the mix questions over the safety of his conviction, and whether he was indeed just a pawn in a bigger game designed to bring Libya back in from the cold.

With all this in mind, do you think it was right to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds?

161 Responses to “On air: Was it right to release the Lockerbie bomber?”

  1. August 20, 2009 at 14:10

    This man should not have been shown any compassion at all as he was clearly responsible for the deaths of 270 airline passengers. He would have got comparable medical treatment in prison. It is a travesty of justice for him to be released! This sends the wrong signals to would-be terrorists.

    • 2 Andrew Keating
      August 20, 2009 at 18:16

      It’s no one’s place to say that compassion should not be shown. No sentence would right what he did. It would make absolutely no difference whether he spends his last days in jail or anywhere else. In a sense, he’s been sentenced to death by cancer.

    • 3 Allan Adelaide Australia
      August 22, 2009 at 13:59

      Whilst I am Australian I am Scots born and I am very proud of the decision to release. The decision is based on law not politics. In addition Scotland is a Christian society and Christianity preaches forgiveness at least they are practicing what they preach, this decision is totally within the bounds of both their law and religion. I am not a practicing Christian but finally I see a decision made in a western court based on mercy. I absolutely praise the Minister for his brave actions.

      More than that, the world has come a long way since the terrible incident and it is time people looked deep into their hearts and ask how can we reconcile, this decision helps that process like it or not. I cannot comment on guilt or innocence but the truth of the matter is the man is about to meet the real Judge be he Moslem, Christian or whatever.

      Of course I feel for all families who lost loved ones but the US should look at how it has corrupted it’s own legal system before it starts pointing the finger at other countries. How many people have they holed up WITHOUT charge or a chance to defend themselves in court (speedily as required by law), how do the families of those accused feel, much the same as the victim families of Lockerbie I suspect.

      • 4 Maggie, Sydney, Australia
        August 23, 2009 at 04:29

        Totally aggree with Alan in Adelaide, brave move Scotland the USA is good at telling the rest of the world how to live & think but can not look after it’s own house. They seem to forget that bombings have happened to London & Bali as well as quite a few other countries.Only God can be the judge, there is no religion in heaven.

  2. August 20, 2009 at 14:16

    This case sounds like an exchange of favors. When money is the ultimate benefit it’s hard to know if the right moral decisions are being made (generally they are not).

    However, simply expressed, compassion /= acceptance. I uphold accountability and personal responsibility. I think it is important to recognize our humanity, that our goal in life is to look at everyone and see ourselves because, we are all one. But we don’t all make the same decisions. If you make bad ones, you suffer the consequences. The only difference for me is that I can make the decision not to hate you for it.

    The difference is within my own heart, but the accountability on the larger scale MUST remain. I may recognize that another person did not have the same opportunities, or was living with a much more dire set of circumstances, and so feel compassion towards them. However, every person has a moment in which they must choose, and every person does so knowing the consequences of such action. Those consequences must be upheld.

    We have a code by which we all live and it must be respected to maintain a civilized society. But compassion should not fall victim to the process.

  3. 6 patti in cape coral
    August 20, 2009 at 14:22

    All this cloak and dagger stuff gets really confusing and frustrating. I don’t know if it was right to release this man. Some people, including the victim’s families, doubt whether he did it at all. Now it is also in doubt whether this compassionate release had anything at all to do with compassion and instead was a political move designed to garner favorable oil contracts. How is it possible to answer the question?

  4. 7 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 14:23

    This will only encourage more terrorism. Some bleeding heart releases someone who murdered 270 people because he only has a couple of months left. Compete lack of backbone, spineless wimp bleeding heart. Why not declare him a “world citizen” while you’re at it? Will The Internationale be played while he gets on the plane back to Libya? Everyone in the UK should be ashamed of themselves, especially the Scots.

    • 8 Andrew Keating
      August 20, 2009 at 18:28

      Uhh… How many times does one need to say “bleeding heart”? Perhaps compassionate people are not ‘bleeding hearts” as much as uncompassionate people lack a heart all together.

      • 9 Mark G
        August 21, 2009 at 05:18

        Everyone’s talking about bleeding hearts and compassion and are so worried about doing the right thing and preaching to each other what they should or shouldn’t do for the proper thoughts for humanity.

        What about being compassionate for those who suffered the loss of friends and families? They are the ones who deserve the compassion, not some Terrorist or one person who might be a Political or Economical pawn.

  5. 10 Jennifer
    August 20, 2009 at 14:35

    Re: do you think it was right to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds?


    Commit the crime; do the time. It’s as simple as that.

    This man took the lives of innocent people. Releasing him is a slap in the face to all of the families that lost loved ones because of what he did. So much for justice.

  6. 11 mem
    August 20, 2009 at 15:00

    Yes, Libya has oil, so they get to play the game. The United States has also done many bad thing—and is also still allowed to play the game of international politics. It’s sad that the only people who get punished are leaders of third world countries with no natural resources, but that’s reality. Live with it.

    Goodness, it was painful listening to Stephanie Bernstein—she kept stepping on your interviewer’s sentences. I understand she’s a victim, but it’s been 21 years, no excuse for rudeness. Stephanie sounds like one of those hard line Bushies with the make war, rage on, don’t talk, don’t negotiate, shoot first and ask questions later mentality. It’s a psychosis. Let go. Move on.

    No one is going to get convicted for the million people who died in Vietnam. No one is going to get convicted for the hundreds of thousands civilians killed in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands who’s lives were shattered. Let go. Move on.

  7. 12 Ashleigh
    August 20, 2009 at 15:00

    The victims had to die without seeing their families. why should he live?

  8. 13 Formerly John in Salem
    August 20, 2009 at 15:01

    The man is one step away from being a vegetable. He isn’t going to enjoy his last days on the outside – if he is even aware that he is outside.
    Justice has been served (if he was truly guilty). The best years of this man’s life have been spent behind bars. The only reason to keep him locked up at this point is revenge – to twist the knife as he dies.
    I’d like to think we’re better than that.

  9. 14 UMOH AMOS (Nigeria)
    August 20, 2009 at 15:28

    I agree with the notion that even though he lacked compassion to this that he killed at Lockerbie, that alone should not prevent us from having compassion on him in his final days on his earth.

    • August 21, 2009 at 08:05

      UMOH, you are absolutely right. The debate shows people are more driven revenge than Christian or any religious comapssion. The matter is not one of guilt or innocence, but whether we are big enough to show compassion to a human in his final days.

      There is one other point: This would be the most indidenous decision ever in such a circumstance when you consider how British policies are dictated by Brussels and Washington. Mr Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Minister, is a very wise, compassionate and brave man who has made his country proud.

  10. August 20, 2009 at 15:30

    Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi was just an instrument in the Lockerbie affair. he was used to carry out the bombing, then he was surrendered by Libya to stand trial in favour of normalizing its relations with the West. Now he is going to be released not to allow the relations between Libya and UK turn sour.

    His release is a compromise for the two parties. For safe-saving, he served his incomplete sentence in Scotland and he’s going to die in Libya. Very few people would look back at his death if he died in prison. Politicians will have to look forward. The USA killed more than 200,000 Japanese through its nuclear bomb. The two countries had to go ahead. Libya allegedly killed 270 people. It offered compensations for them. Now, she’s going to offer lucrative investments to the UK. That’s the cynical aspect of politics.

    The question is not whether it is right or wrong to release the Lockerbie bomber, but what is the right thing to do, to miss out on economic opportunities or to keep relations between UK and Libya a hostage of people who died and a bomber who’s going to die. In politics, generally, there aren’t feeling but high interests.

  11. 17 Peter
    August 20, 2009 at 15:31

    Sad to see appeasment is still alive and well in the UK…

  12. 19 Roger Whitehouse England
    August 20, 2009 at 15:52

    Bad decision by Scotland. He showed no compassion, he could have stopped the bombing, he knew the enormity of what he was doing at the time, to release him is a Judicial joke. This decision is to Scotland ‘s shame.

    • 20 Dougie
      August 20, 2009 at 19:05

      I absolutely agree. MacAskill is the biggest idiot in what is laughably described as the ‘Scottish Government’ and he makes me ashamed of my Scottish half. God save us from the SNP!

  13. 21 Matthew Houston
    August 20, 2009 at 15:55

    This issue brings up core questions about the nature of criminal justice. Is imprisonment intended as punishment to criminals, protection of the innocent, or as a warning to others? Is it about reform? If it’s reform, then reform of who – the individual, or society itself? Is it society which produces criminals, or is it fully the individuals’ blame?

  14. 22 Linda from Italy
    August 20, 2009 at 16:02

    When this guy gets out he’s hardly likely to dance for joy and either a) party, party, party or b) perpetrate some dastardly act of terrorism. He’s dying for heaven’s sake (if that isn’t quite the right word here) and the religious out there, I would have imagined, would be firm in their belief that their own particular God will wreak just vengeance.
    Leaving aside the question of a miscarriage of justice, for which there is considerable evidence, and the “oil junkie” question, and I can be cynical as the rest about this one, as a human being, no matter what horrible things he has done, he deserves compassion from a civilised society and compassion should be a guiding principle of what we in the West, at least up to the Eastern shores of the Atlantic, consider just.
    How will this “inspire” terrorists? Iindeed those Muslims who don’t believe in this road to perdition, will actually be able to cite his cancer as a “punishment from God”, and the others will gain no benefit as, rather than vanish in a puff of martyr’s smoke, he will be dying a very painful and undignified death.
    No amount of vengeance will bring back the people killed at Lockerbie, but a generous act of compassion may dissipate the hate that only rots the hater.
    Well done Scotland, I’m proud of you!

    • 23 Naddy
      September 1, 2009 at 16:14

      I totally agree Linda! I’m a muslim and let me tell you there is NO part of Islam that allows for the taking of another human life. And yes we muslims Do beleive that he is being punished and that there will a a worse punishment waiting for him after we all hate him and no true muslim would support the actions of this evil man.

  15. 24 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 16:10

    Wrong, he gets to die from morphine, a much more pleasant death than falling 35,000 feet to your death. When did the British become such spineless wimps that they would release a murderer of 270 people on compassionate grounds when he showed no compassion for the 270 men, women and children he murdered? GROW A BACKBONE!

  16. 25 Mohan, USA
    August 20, 2009 at 16:12

    It is very hard to be objective on this issue. Within a year of this tragedy, I was in Toronto attending a wedding. There I met several people who lost family and friends in the Lockerbie bombing. The cruelty of their loss came to mind on 9/11.

    I am not in a position to judge whether compassion was the sole motivating force behind his release. I can only attribute his inevitable but untimely death to a Greater Justice.

  17. 26 Nelson Isibor
    August 20, 2009 at 16:14

    Questions like this really can’t have a yes or no answer because there’s a very thin line between revenge and justice. The guy was responsible for the death of over 250 people, he has being in jail. As the Scottish Justice Minister rightly pointed out, he faces a sentence no one can do anything about so what’s the point of still holding him behind bars?
    P.S: Who ever wrote that address, did a marvelous job.

  18. 27 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 16:15

    Horrible of him to be let free. He should have 2 choices. 1) Sit in his cell 2) Shot in front of a firing squad.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  19. August 20, 2009 at 16:23

    cruelty is in every loss around the Global War Of Terror – demand transparent investigations – this man is such an obvious patsy, a debate like this just keeps the psy-op rolling – be sure to question BBC’s role in all this

  20. 29 Ibrahim in UK
    August 20, 2009 at 16:25

    From what I understand, the entire conviction of Al-Megrahi hinged on the existence of a circuit board fragment used for a timer that was found in Al-Megrahi’s suitcase.

    An engineer from the board manufacturer later admitted that the circuit board was planted there after the explosion and that he lied in court against Al-Megrahi.
    The conviction would almost certainly be overturned on appeal.

    The appeal against his conviction will take more than a year.
    Al-Megrahi has less than a year to live.

    So we are told that he is being released on grounds of compassion, and that Al-Megrahi is dropping his appeal.

    As someone previously wrote, neither the victims of Lockerbie nor Al-Megrahi are seeing justice.

  21. 30 Leo from Kiev
    August 20, 2009 at 16:36

    I cannot agree with the Scottish decision on the matter, especially amidst the Islamist advance worldwide. Moreover,as BBC advised recently, the relatives of the victims were absolutely against it, therefore the decision of the Scottish minister was a blow to the feelings of the relatives as well. While I studied in the UK a decade ago, I visited several times Edingburough, exploring its legal system, and discovered of Scotland being a “different state” with different legal system from the mainland England. Bizarre. If English system of law would encompass Scots law, leaving it obsolete, as a curiosity for legal scolars, then this strange decision, resembling a slap in the face, would be treated more as an awkward joke than a sad reality…I am sorry for the relatives of the victims….

  22. 31 J. Augustine - WI USA
    August 20, 2009 at 16:38

    If this act of compassion is going to encourage more terrorism, then how will the death of more terrorists discourage those willing to blow *themselves* up in order to take a larger number of people they believe to be enemies with them?

    If the argument is based on the beliefs of foreigners, then shouldn’t we be asking why so many foreigners believe the western world is their enemy? Why are so many willing to believe the lies they’ve been told about how the richest people in the world represent the root of all evil?

    Will our act of showing compassion to an enemy reinforce, or begin to weaken the certainty of the ranks of people willing to sacrifice their lives for this lie?

  23. 32 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 16:38

    @ Anthony

    (3) Thrown out of a plane without a parachute, like how his victims died.

  24. 33 Stephen in Portland/Oregon
    August 20, 2009 at 16:39

    The people of Scotland have no say in this. We had to have a parliament to appease the small-minded independence brigade, so what we got is a think tank for stupid ideas not to mention micro managed local government.

    This guy is a pawn and the real people responsible never got punished. Let him die at home, at least we wont have to pay for his treatment.

  25. 34 James Turner
    August 20, 2009 at 16:45

    Today a gross miss use of compassion was done to the families of the victims of this man! ALL THE COMPASSION THE WORLD OWED THIS MAN WAS SHOWN WHEN HE WAS NOT PUT TO DEATH RIGHT AFTER HIS TRIAL! What a kick to the guts of the families of his victims. Just when justices is about to be handed down, he is allowed to breath frash clean air again. This is so sad! Just by shear fortune he probably will not be able to inflict and more pain on more people? I hope! I am sure someone will be keeping a close eye on his comings an goings? God protect us the stupid people in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. 35 Eric in France
    August 20, 2009 at 16:48


    first to answer, we have to accept that the Scottish judicial system offers the possibility to release one on compassionate ground. As an outsider to that country I must accept it. Therefore, it is only the Scottish people to challenge the existing law and principle. Now, on the personal side, I would strongly agree with the decision. For once, the US president didn’t make a moral statement, saying he was disappointed, which means he accepts the difference of laws in Scotland.

    Your question should not be about the rightness of the decision as the judge has the power to do so. So, for the Scottish society as a whole, I guess it is right. For those from society (as a whole) without the concept, it will be fundamentally wrong in principle, because they would never allow it in their system for the time being. So, I would have prefer the question to be: would you approve if your justice system allows compassionate release for any criminal terminally ill, if not yet the case?

    In France, it was applied, a few years ago, to someone (Mr Papin) convinced of crime against humanity for deportation during WWII. I did agree as we have to apply upon us those principles we try to impose on others (e.g. Afghanistan). Countries like the USA are still at a stage of death penalty (or eye-for-eye) as a core societal value, therefore how can they understand Scotland and others?

    Kind regards,

  27. 36 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 16:49

    Why jail anyone given we all ultimately will die anyways? Example of liberal limpwristedness, showing that we lack a backbone here in the west. It will only encourage more terrorism. So the the marxists out there, the blood is on YOUR hands now.

  28. 37 Grahame Shadbolt
    August 20, 2009 at 16:53

    He and those who helped him (who remain free) showed no compassion for their victims, and I’m sure feel no remorse now. What these terrorists did then and what their “brothers” have continued to do is to prey on the vulnerable and the innocent. Cowards and thugs the lost of them. Terrorists the world over are still planning more murders in the same cause as Megrahi, and still have zero compassion. These are the people that will greet Megrahi home.

    How utterly ridiculous to release him after less than 8 years. This equates to a price of 1.5 weeks imprisonment for each person he killed, and they were far more worthy examples of humanity than he was. Decent, law abiding citizens, devoted family members all valued at 1.5 weeks because of this thug.

    We must all feel cheated that he gets to die in the comfort of his home and family. If he has a recovery can we put him back in prison where he belongs.

  29. 38 gary
    August 20, 2009 at 16:53

    Life incarceration, or indeed execution, is inadequate punishment for the killing of 270 people. Nothing compensates for the loss of a loved one. Similarly, folks wishing to commit such crimes are undeterred by the thoughts of imprisonment or death. In fact, recent terrorist incidents suggest remarkable encouragement results from the prospects of martyrdom. For these reasons, I believe compassion was the correct choice, not because Mr. Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi deserves compassion; but because compassion may prove a more effective deterrent to terrorist violence than did his incarceration.

  30. 39 Formerly John in Salem
    August 20, 2009 at 16:54

    So you think he should die in prison?
    Oh, let me guess – it’s the “principle” of the thing, right?
    I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the world is on fire with principles. The person who throws acid on school girls and the captain who goes down with the ship and the senator who prefers deadlock over compromise all suffer from the same disease, a cerebral concept called a “principle” that has little to do with the real world of circumstance and necessity.
    Principles are not a bad thing to have, but rigid, inflexible principles are not even principles any more – they’re dogma, in which case you have turned your political philosophies into a religion, conveniently outside the realm of reason or logic, and
    pretty much disqualifying yourself as a source of rational opinion.
    I would suggest you THINK about the question instead – what is being served by keeping a vegetable in prison?

  31. 41 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 20, 2009 at 16:55

    He should be freed because from reading the story it seems that there is alot of doubt surrounding the evidence, his conviction and incarceration.

    “Libya sits on the largest oil reserves in Africa, oil reserves many companies are keen to have access too. Two years ago, then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair laid the foundations for Al-Megrahi’s release by agreeing a prisoner transfer deal with Libya. Just a few hours later British oil company BP announced a multi-million dollar deal to search for oil in the country”.


    In every war and political dealing there is a subtext and a context that is largely unknown to the public at large that motivate politicians to act. BY AND LARGE THE PUBLIC IS NAIVE AND FICKLE AND THEY NEVER SIFT THROUGH THE VENEER OF MANY STORIES TO FIND THE UNDERLYING MOTIVES FOR CERTAIN DECISIONS.

  32. August 20, 2009 at 16:58

    The innocent people that he had killed were more than him it is not suppose to release. If it is matter of his treatment he will be treated in prison and he will face justice first before his releasing.

  33. 43 Shannon in Ohio
    August 20, 2009 at 17:03

    The 270 travelers who boarded that 1988 Pan Am flight were facing the end of life, too. They just didn’t know it. Same true for the people killed on the ground in Lockerby. None of these people had the opportunity to hug their loved ones one last time. Chunks of flaming aircraft streaming to the earth and crushing homes hardly qualifies as a peaceful death.

    Meanwhile, this guy will emerge from a private jet and enjoy what I fear will be a nation-wide hero’s welcome. He will die at home surrounded by family, unlike his victims.

  34. August 20, 2009 at 17:06

    The question is not whether it is right or wrong to release the Lockerbie bomber, but what is the right thing to do, to miss out on economic opportunities or to keep relations between UK and Libya a hostage of people who died and a bomber who’s going to die. In politics, generally, there aren’t feelings but high interests.

    Maybe the relief for those who oppose his release is that he will die soon and with him will be buried a sad chapter. Life has to go on for those who were survived by the Lockerbie victims.

  35. August 20, 2009 at 17:07

    again, the man is a patsy and the deal was cut to save face – for those not willing to read the story here

    at least look at this excerpt:

    He told The Herald that the fragments he was shown at the trial were different to those originally shown to him. “The fragments kept changing,” he said. “The procurator-fiscal showed me one fragment then the police showed me a fragment in two parts – one was green, one was brown.

    “Later in the witness box I was shown a screen and the smaller piece was completely carbonised – you could not even see the colour. It had been manipulated, but when I tried to say that the judge cut me off.”

  36. 46 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 20, 2009 at 17:08

    This is how a politician would think: 270 lives is a small price to pay for 13bn pounds of future revenue.
    You know this can provide jobs for many UK citizens and help improve the economy.
    We’d also lessen our dependency on Russian gas and oil.
    I’ll also be praised as the guy who brought prosperity to Britain.
    Maybe I’ll get a deal of my own.

  37. 47 Andrew in Australia
    August 20, 2009 at 17:11

    All issues surrounding whether he was a scapegoat and the trial aside, as a convicted murderer – that is mass murderer – how can any compassion be given to such a person, regardless of his health. Some crimes are so disgusting to reasonable people to consider compassion is only a sign of weakness for criminals to exploit.

    What does this say other than no matter what you do and what punishment you are given, there will always be a get out of jail clause for you if you can play on people’s gullibility. In that case, don’t have trials, don’t bother with jails as someone will always have a sob story, an excuse. So don’t bother sanctioning people at all.

    Health should never be an excuse as everyone ultimately succumbs to an illness at some point and often die as a result. Anyone planning criminal acts must consider IF I do this, and I am convicted I can become sick in jail so… factor that into your plans. If you want to remain free whilst you go through an illness then don’t commit such acts.

    It is an insult to all honest, law-abiding peoples of the world. We can lead decent lives without being rewarded, why do we reward those who chose to destroy, murder and ruin lives?

  38. August 20, 2009 at 17:13

    Al-Mehgrahi planted the bomb
    Somebody made the bomb
    Somebody had the idea and planned the action.
    who was he?
    Did Al-Mehgrahi really know ?
    The real drama was played behind the stage
    In the end is ir not some ” Raison d’Etat” whicb did prompt the players?
    Sic transit opera Mundi.

  39. 49 Rob in Vancouver
    August 20, 2009 at 17:17

    It’s simple. We act with humanity – even with those who fail to do so. We are better human beings.

    Those who fail to understand this align themselves closer with our enemies than with ourselves. The Scottish minister took a principled and courageous stand and should be appplauded for doing so.


    • August 20, 2009 at 20:16

      It’s simple. We act with humanity – even with those who fail to do so. We are better human beings.

      OHH REALLY?????


  40. August 20, 2009 at 17:20

    no, absolutely not. it was a cow-trade (i just imported that saying from german). it shows us, how quicj moral standards can be thrown overboard, when great interests get involved. but it’s not only like this with lybia and britain. we see it in every country.

  41. 52 saad
    August 20, 2009 at 17:22

    He shouldn’t have been released on any ground. This is defeat of justice. This deal ,on the expanse of precious life of people, is sad. Such all deals and releasing should be discouraged as they involve human life in return of political and economical gains.

  42. 53 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 17:22

    @ John/Salem

    Since when has having cancer been considered being a vegetable? The man MURDERED 270 people. Do you know how they died? If they didn’t die from the initial explosion, they either died from heart attacks while falling through the air or from impact at terminal velocity into the ground. An unpleasant way to go. SO the person who was responsible can be released to die in his bed from morphine? We’re talking about principles here? Well imagine what it would have been like to suffer the death of one of his victims. There’s no place for bleeding hearts when it comes to justice.

    • 54 Chrissy in Portland
      August 20, 2009 at 18:32

      @ Stephen

      I wonder if the people that were against his release are truly considering the cost of the care for this terminally ill prisoner…

  43. 55 Don/Kentucky/USA
    August 20, 2009 at 17:25

    Scotland claims it had to show compassion for a man who was going to die out of his country and no family around. What happened to Scotland’s compassion for the grandparents/parents who died without their children around because they were killed by Al-Megrahi? Where is the compassion for the children who lost their family because of Al-Megrahi? Was the decision really compassionate or political?

  44. 56 Ed Evanko
    August 20, 2009 at 17:34

    Yes, I believe it was right to release this individual who has terminal cancer. Whether he is retained in prison or released won’t bring back the lives that were taken during the bombing. I understand there may have been doubt of his being guilty and in my opinion if there is any doubt the man should be freed. Why keep him in prison in a vegetable state of life and the taxpayers of the country burdened with keeping him behind bars?

    I am well aware of many politicians in the US, particularly the Secretary of State who don’t believe the man should be released, but then every country has its own laws and I believe its court system is capable of making proper decisions without being influenced by leaders of sovereign nations?

    There are a number of individuals in this country who have spent years in prison and upon further investigation through DNA testing individuals were found not guilty and released. How would one like to spend a life time behind bars and subsequent to one’s death found the individual was innocent? So, then Life goes on!

  45. 57 SCOTTISHLASS1228
    August 20, 2009 at 17:35

    I am absolutely disgusted that he was let out of jail to die in his own country with his family . If a Scottish person had blown up a plane over Libya they certainly wouldn’t get to die in Scotland.

    Life in Prison, should mean Life.

  46. August 20, 2009 at 17:38

    Was it right to release the lockerbie bomber?

    YES,it was the right thing to do in this circumstance because,the Scottish Government can gain an international profile(which it never had before),show its moral and cultural superiority over the purp. and the USA(it is saying we are European)also al-Magrahi dropped his appeal and therefore implictly admitted his guilt.

    If Libya can help with the war on terror as a result it would be have been a worthwhile gesture.

    Hey is there oil in Libya hmm?
    Do they need to but some military hardware?

    Everytime this subject comes up I think back to that day when I was waiting at JFK for 6 or 7 hours,I didn’t know why the flight was delayed at the Pan Am terminal, those US College kids didn’t make home for Christmas,I did.

  47. 59 patti in cape coral
    August 20, 2009 at 17:39

    @ Deryck – I agree that it sounded like he shouldn’t have been in jail in the first place after I read the article sited on the first thread, but I’ve noticed most people take it for granted that he is guilty. In any case, I would prefer to err on the side of compassion, but each case has to be determined separately.

  48. 60 Jimmy Kulang (Juba South Sudan)
    August 20, 2009 at 17:41

    Realeasing the mass murderer on compassionate justice is compromised, the lives of the 270 people, women, children and all of them cannot be compared to his single life, why should be feel compassionate to someone who did not have any compassion to the people he killed, after all a single os them didnt know him and hardly have any problems with him

    Prisoners are normally die and burried in prison cemetries before they finish thier sentence, why is the Libyan man so special, how about the people he killed? if they were given a choice they would also say let me first say bye to my family before I die

  49. 61 mahmed geeljire
    August 20, 2009 at 17:45

    geeljire in somaliland
    Abdel based must be realsed from the prison althought he is a guilt person and killed 270 people ,we know he is under critical situation and must be back his home land libia ,

    from geejire in somaliland, the break away republic of somaliland

  50. 62 Count Iblis
    August 20, 2009 at 17:46

    The Criminal Cases Reviews Commisions had sent the case back to the high court. There were 6 grounds for appeal. So, whether people believe he is actually guilty or not doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this case was heading toward retrial. So, the question is if it is ok. to let a terminally ill person die in jail while he awaits his retrial.

  51. 63 Joseph
    August 20, 2009 at 17:46

    Think about the hell-like last moments of life for the victims of the crash- why should the convicted bomber die at home with his family when he caused so many peoples’ lives to end so painfully. And if he was not guilty, that is the job of the appeals court. It is illogical and impartial to grant the bomber a death at home with his family.

  52. 64 Dan
    August 20, 2009 at 17:48

    Yes release him and drop him from the plane as it flies over Lybia.

  53. 65 Linda from Italy
    August 20, 2009 at 17:51

    I don’t want to stray off topic, but this Scotland-bashing is really getting to me. I’m an English Brit and should I ever return to the UK, I will humbly beg an entry visa and residence permit for Scotland, despite the weather, because this is just one more example of the civilised nature of Scottish society and their devolved government, I have a feeling the English arm of the Brit govt would have been keener to “appease” the US, despite the fact that the PM is a Scot. However, at least in all of the UK, the judiciary is independent of the governing political party not so in the US.
    By the way, did not a number of Scottish people die when the plane crashed on their homes? Have I not detected a different attitude to “an eye for an eye” from those families?
    Finally, the comment that the Scottish people had no say, is to deny the entire concept of a representative democracy. The Scottish people elect their own parliament and from the vox. pops. I’ve heard so far they are justly proud of it.

  54. August 20, 2009 at 17:52

    I saw the statement by the Scottish Minister on BBC World TV,he implied that al-Magrahi was being punished by God,In India people say that kind of thing a lot ,however it is defamation as per Indian law to say someone is cursed by God or is being punished by God.

  55. 67 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 17:52

    Not to be “evil”, and not that this should or would actually happen, but if we wanted to be fair, REALLY fair, with all the pain and anguish that this person placed upon these 270 INNOCENT people, their friends, and family, then he would have to be tied up and hung like a pinata, and beaten one hit at a time with a pipe, over a couple months. Only then would it be “fair”.

    My heart goes out to all the family that have been shot in the heart by this horrible decision. It makes me SICK to think this guy is going to die in the hands of his loving family while those victims family had to pick them up piece by piece. I’m filled with disgust at this decision.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  56. 68 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 17:55

    @ Don/Kentucky/USA

    Political most likly. At least now people know they can MURDER 270 people, spend a few years in prision, and then get terminal cancer and get out. What a message to send to todays terrorists, don’t you think?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  57. 69 Robz
    August 20, 2009 at 17:57

    Scotland can do what ever they chose to the guy,he is their prisoner.
    And secondly,holding terrorists in prison for life or executing them will not change the reality that a group of people who don’t agree with another group will attack the other.
    A terrorist;be they a druglord or government sponsored or a cult,or what ever will do what they do.No matter the penalty of law or loss of death.
    To show compasion is the right thing to do,keeping a dying man in prison proves nothing.
    In the US,we let Al Capone die at his home in Miami;he died of syphilis.
    Rob in Florida.

  58. 70 Tara Ballance, Montreal
    August 20, 2009 at 17:57

    I followed Al-Megrahi’s original trial with a good deal of interest. At the time I felt that the verdict was, in British terms, not safe, because some exculpatory evidence was excluded while other evidence might have been tampered with. Some of the police work was sloppy, and I thought that many of the sources cited by investigators were unreliable.

    Since I believe that his conviction was unsafe, I am satisfied that the judge has released him on compassionate grounds.

    Was he guilty? I don’t know. The facts of the case made during the prosecution were insufficient to convince me one way or the other.

    I hoped that his appeal would bring out more information. As it has been dropped, perhaps an inquiry is in order.

  59. 71 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 17:58

    @ Rob in Vancouver

    I’m not a better human being. Imagine growing up without a father or mother. Thats one of the WORSE things that could happen to a child. Imagine your spouse being suddenly taken away. Life lost and lives ruined.

    Give me a shotgun, the authority, and Al-Megrahi in a room, and I guarentee I’m not a better human being.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  60. 72 Keith- Ohio
    August 20, 2009 at 18:00

    I still stand by my original stance:

    If he was sentenced to life in prison, why should he be released just because that life is coming to its end? I’m not going to acknowledge that this is a “special case” because of the questionable conviction. That’s like saying “well, there’s some evidence…but not enough…so let’s give him half of the original sentence.” A court decides either full guilt or full innocence of a crime, and then assigns a punishment accordingly. If the ruling is questionable then it can often be appealed (I am not sure if Scotland’s judicial system is similar to America’s).

    We have tried to build the judicial system in a manner that is impartial, and gives the most benefit of the doubt to the accused, and if we don’t trust the conclusions that it comes to, what’s the point of even having one?

  61. 73 Keith- Ohio
    August 20, 2009 at 18:06

    oh well. I don’t really care about this particular case, it allowed the Scottish government to be the “bigger man”, I suppose, and it does emphasize compassion (which should be exercised when his punishment is decided, not when he contracts a terminal illness). Let’s just not make a habit of undermining the justice system.

  62. 74 Russell
    August 20, 2009 at 18:08

    Surely, there must be a level of humanity shown. It’s interesting to see how one always hears a lot of how we’re supposed to live humanly and how the US in particular claims to have such high moral and human standards. But they have a great number of persons in jails, a huge number executed and a no appreciable decline in crime.

    We have the capacity to show mercy and should do so.

    It would be interesting to know how many US Citizens are languishing in foreign jails and what they might have to say if the situation was reversed?!

  63. 75 Guy Tiphane
    August 20, 2009 at 18:09

    I’m surprised that pilots and air traffic controllers didn’t go on strike instead of accepting to fly him to Lybia.

  64. 76 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:11

    I’m curious, had the victims been mostly British instead of American, would the Scots have released him? I don’t think so. I say people boycott all things Scottish. It’s the least we can do for in response to a “nation” that releases mass murderers after serving 8 years.

    • 77 Chrissy in Portland
      August 20, 2009 at 18:51

      @ Steve

      What can one say to a statement such as the one you just made? Why all the hostility towards the people the Scotland – who have undoubtedly suffered because of this horrible tragedy?

      Ever been to Scotland, let alone Lockerbie? I have. I would suggest making a trip over so that you can actually comment from a more informed platform.

  65. August 20, 2009 at 18:13

    Sorry to one of the speakers; but this issue is not at all front and center in America. Its not garnering much attention at all on any grand scale, so the American Administration really has no reason to pretend outrage.

  66. 79 Criddler
    August 20, 2009 at 18:14

    This is an insult to the judicial system. And an insult to the families. Are they going to release every prisoner based on compasion when close to death? And what is the point of sentencing LIFE in prison if you get to finish your life outside of prison?!?

  67. 80 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 18:16

    @ Rob in Vancouver

    I’m not a better human being. Imagine growing up without a father or mother. Thats one of the WORSE things that could happen to a child. Imagine your spouse being suddenly taken away. Life lost and lives ruined. I’m not a better human being and I wish he had been put to death.

    My heart goes out to all the family that have been shot in the heart by this horrible decision. It makes me SICK to think this guy is going to die in the hands of his loving family while those victims family had NOTHING. I’m filled with disgust at this decision.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  68. 81 themoi
    August 20, 2009 at 18:16

    Susan Atkins one of the Manson murders recently tried to be released on compassionate grounds as she is terminal with brain cancer and is bedridden. The US justice system said “no way”. She is also a murderer even if it is on a smaller scale. This man should not have been released and having done so is a miscarriage of justice. The vicitm’s families will never forgive the Scottish govt. for what they have done in letting him go.

    • 82 Linda from Italy
      August 20, 2009 at 18:22

      Does that give that system some sort of high moral ground, does it make it a model for the world to follow?
      I think not.

    • 83 Dougie
      August 20, 2009 at 19:24

      Please no not use the term ‘Scottish Government’. Having control over judicial issues and your own legal system doesn’t qualify them as a government. What Scotland has is a regional civic assembly just like Wales (or a puppet government if you like). However much the poor bumbling idiot MacAskill tries to look like he is in charge it just isn’t convincing.

  69. 84 Bob
    August 20, 2009 at 18:20

    NO, this man (barly human) KILLED 270 people!! He should not have been released, he should have been exicuted in the first place and not giving a nice cosy cell. This disgusting little man deserves to be tortured for the pain he cause to the people being killed and for the distress the he caused to the families. I cannot belive the justice system allowed this EVIL person to go home to say his final goodbuy to his familie unlike the people who never got then chance too. I am disgusted that he is now a free man and not in guantanimo bay. I hope this man thinks of the excrusiating pain he put other through when he dies a painless morphien death.

  70. August 20, 2009 at 18:21


    I thought the “Manson woman” was realeased recently from prison.

  71. 87 Keith- Ohio
    August 20, 2009 at 18:22

    I absolutely agree with the guest that cites the tragedy that because of his release, we will never have closure over this case. The appeal to his case would have been the perfect judicial solution to a questionable trial, not an executive decision. Good guests today!

  72. 88 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 18:22

    @ steve

    Sound good, but I don’t think I use anything Scottish.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  73. 89 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:27

    Come on BBC, Barghouti has nothing to do with this show. He was convicted of murdering Israelis, though not as many as this Libyan killed in the bombing.

  74. 90 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:28

    @ Anthony

    You don’t drink scotch?

  75. 91 Tom D Ford
    August 20, 2009 at 18:28

    “…do you think it was right to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds”

    My thought is that he ought to spend the rest of his life in jail but I sure have to admire the Scots for being better humans than I am, for their compassion.

    So here’s to the Scots!




  76. 92 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:32

    Okay, so if there is a political reason, or economic reason, such as oil, behind this, is the Scottish government not lying to everyone then?

    • 93 Chrissy in Portland
      August 20, 2009 at 19:32

      @ Steve

      Is it safe to assume that you are American and lived under the Bush Administration for the past 8 years? In that case, I’m not sure how you can accuse another government of lying to it’s people. How does that saying go again? The pot calling the kettle black? When has the US goverment (especially in recent history) done anything without a political or economic reason?

  77. 94 John in Salem
    August 20, 2009 at 18:34

    Justice without compassion is not justice, just as a principle without reason is not a principle.
    From the accounts that I have heard he is unable to walk, speak, feed himself or use a bathroom. If he were still the robust young man we see at the top of this page I would want him to serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole but he is not. The criminal who killed all those people and caused all the grief is gone – what remains has value to his family who were not complicit and should not be punished for his deed.
    Keeping his body in prison for justice is absurd, as is the logic of holding it based on what we think the reception for it might be.

  78. 95 Andrew Stephens
    August 20, 2009 at 18:38

    It seems to be that a better approach, appeasing both compassion and security, and given the “three month” time frame, would be that the Scottish government might have been well off to simply offer temporary visas/asylum to the family and a home-stay away from an HMP.

  79. 96 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:41

    The US Navy didn’t deliberately shoot down the Iranian airliner, they made a mistake and mistook it for a military plane. There is a HUGE difference between deliberately and accidentally doing things. Are you as upset over the Soviet shooting down KAL flight 007 or do you only point out things that Americans do because you hate America?

    • 97 Chrissy in Portland
      August 20, 2009 at 19:03

      NO. The US Navy deliberately shot down the plane. It was only AFTER the fact that they realized they were mistaken in doing so. An order was made and followed.

  80. 98 Naijaman
    August 20, 2009 at 18:41

    its a BIG BUSINESS exchange, people have to read between the lines. This man is just an escape goat. The Libya authorities know the real culprits.,where they came from and where they are righ now. After all ,the authority has paid a huge cash in damages for victims families… what else they want..All dead is dead.. theres no amount of Justice that will please or wake up the deads back to life…People are dying in Afghanistan, Iraq,Mexico,Nigeria,Palestines etc…any Justice for the victims?? NO!! .. AMERICAS are saying they are not pleased with the release of this MAN …but INSIDE white house theres jubilation because the door is open for real OIL BIZ with Libya…

  81. 99 nadyat
    August 20, 2009 at 18:42


    I’ve been listening to your reports on the release of Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi and I’ll have to say i think it’s great that he’s been released on compassionate grounds. justice can be flawed as there are still many questions surrounding the case. But all that aside, a civilised society shouldn’t deny people compassion because of what they’ve done. There are bigger issues at stake here. Do we want to be a punitive society ( like any number of countries and their use of the death penalty) or one that can recognise the need to exercise compassion for a reviled person? the credibility of a society calling itself a civilised one i think (in many ways ) can be tested by these tough choices. Congratulations Scotland! I live in Australia where the number of prisons here have increased; and law and order is always a great election campaign. People get manipulated that way because ultimately, fear mongering always works!

    People learn from those who have been through awful things and have come through it with incredible grace. there are many of those examples.


  82. 100 Anthony
    August 20, 2009 at 18:42

    Should we let Richard Ramirez out if he gets Prostate Cancer?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  83. 102 Mark in FL
    August 20, 2009 at 18:43

    If the UK/Scots would have granted visas to his immediate family to be with him, it would be done right there.

  84. 103 Bert - USA
    August 20, 2009 at 18:44

    OH PLEASE!! There is NO comparison between the shooting down of the Iranian airliner and this case. At all.

    That shooting was a complete accident, and it occurred because the airliner flew into the line of fire of a warship which was actively in combat at the time. The CO of that ship is not a criminal by any civilized definition of the term, and I’m quite positive that he has to live with that tragedy every day.

    The BBC should not let such apologetic nonsense go unchalleneged.

    • 104 Chrissy in Portland
      August 20, 2009 at 18:56

      While an accident, where is the accountability. And how do the victim’s families feel?

      To use some of Steve’s logic, what would have happened if the plan had been an american plan and the Iranian’s had shot it down?

    • 105 Tmac
      August 24, 2009 at 00:18

      Ok Bert how can you mistakenly identify a commercial plane to a F-14 Tomcat fighter plane,and what about the awarding of medals for said ‘mistake’ ?

  85. 106 richard
    August 20, 2009 at 18:47

    1. The man is terminally ill, compassion makes us better than them
    2. He didn’t do it alone if at all, it is more likely to be Iranian inspired after the US Navy shot down an Iranian airliner
    3. The maltese witness received a $2,000,000 thank you!
    4. The lawyers bill for the victims is $300,000,000 guess who doesn’t want it to end?

    We are being manipulated into a version of the truth, we will never see the people responsible anywhere near a court room, this is a red herring to deflect us from the real reasons of this outrage

  86. 107 Angry Pancho
    August 20, 2009 at 18:47

    I guess you could say when I was younger and less experienced, I would have said it’s wrong to release Al-Megrahi. But I know better now and it really doesn’t matter whether the Scots are doing this to improve their ability to get oil or not. What have those protesting have against our improving relations? The fact is we ALL commit atrocities whether we want to admit to them or not. If only we could come to realize that.

  87. 108 Garett
    August 20, 2009 at 18:51

    One part of me screams that this man should not be released, screams that he deserves this, that he should not be allowed the comfort of his family in his dying days. I am appalled by his actions.

    But then another side of me speaks up, not in screams, but in dulled tones, reminding me of the hell my grandfather went through because of cancer, and how miserable he was even with his loved ones by him as he took his final breath.

    We demand compassion from the rest of the world, yet the western powers are ignorant and arrogant enough to think that we do not need to act in a way we demand from everyone else. I think we can demand compassion when we are willing to show it, otherwise we perpetuate this senseless cycle of violence. Shame on every one of you who felt glad when you heard of this man’s disease, what disease do you have that makes you act so coldly and inhumane towards another human being.

  88. 109 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:52

    Should we let out convicted pedophiles who are dying of cancer? How about in your neighborhood if you have children?

    So what’s the rule for picking and choosing who gets compassion? If you kill 270 people you get compassion, but a pedophile shouldn’t? Anyone care to explain the double standard?

  89. 110 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 18:53

    @ john

    On the news, they said he WALKED ONTO THE AIRPLANE. So much for being a vegetable, eh?

  90. 111 Modibbo isa
    August 20, 2009 at 18:56

    Mr shadbolt, i wonder what faith u beliv in bt i knw COMPASSION is somthn encoraged by major faiths arnd d world besyds d man is terminaly ill nd has olready spnt his productiv dys in jail nd morevr is evn bettr 4 d victim families 2 let him Go dan 2 hav him acces D best medical facilities in d UK at the detriment of their taxpay

  91. 112 Guy in Portland
    August 20, 2009 at 18:57

    Americans always see the harm done upon them, not the one they or their government inflict upon other.
    The price of a life is quite different whether it is an american one or a middle-eastern one.
    The war in Iraq lead to the direct death of tens of thousands of civilians. No one will ever go to jail this.
    So, with that in mind, I don’t feel like it is that big of deal for that man to be sent home when he is terminally ill.

  92. 113 nicolas columbo
    August 20, 2009 at 19:00

    Some of the callers seem to think that this gives the world the impression that we are soft on terrorists. I guess now all of our detainees at Guantanamo will be contracting terminal cancer in order to be sent home. This has got to be one of the most ridiculous conversations in the history of conversations. There are soldiers from every western country that have secretly committed atrocities around the world in the name of “Good”. We are such hypocrites! It truly boggles the mind.

  93. 114 kpellyhezekiah
    August 20, 2009 at 19:03

    steve, you got it all wrong. The scots minister is just saying two wrongs(which in this case is killing people) doesn’t make a right. He doesn’t want Scotland to be held responsible for the man’s death. Let his blood be on his own head.

  94. 115 Xena
    August 20, 2009 at 19:03

    Why do we have such a need for revenge? The man’s guilt is under dispute.
    Why not give his family and friends an opportunity to be with him when he dies?
    Like the family of the Lockerbie victims, the family of this man had no choice. Entertain for the moment the possibility that he might be innocent.
    Even if he is guilty, our mercy isn’t releasing him to do more wrong-rather in this example, we model the kind of world we want to live in. Meaning no disrespect for the families of victims, I am weary of my countrymen in the USA’s righteous and destructive anger. God bless the Scots.

  95. 116 Linda from Italy
    August 20, 2009 at 19:07

    I challenge YOU: friendly fire, collateral damamge, the list goes on – shoot first and ask questions later is not an ideal plan of action for presumptions of moral superiority, let alone a pragmatic policy for winning “hearts and mind”.

  96. 117 Jussi
    August 20, 2009 at 19:11

    Well think about it. A lifetime sentence of course. If he was in pain about being jailed, it should have served him right. If he wouldn´t have had that illness, he´s sentence would have last many years longer. And now a releasement.

  97. 118 kpellyhezekiah
    August 20, 2009 at 19:14

    Steve, if you think letting the man die in jail is justice to the 270 people who died, then you are totally wrong. For instance, why did Libya offer to pay the families in spite of the man being jailed? Even that payment CANNOT be anywhere near the value of the human lives lost. There is simply no value for the cost of human live and so even if the man dies in prison, this would not be an inkling to the value of the cost of human lives lost in the bombing.

  98. 119 kpellyhezekiah
    August 20, 2009 at 19:20

    Even with the man released, nothing and I repeat, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING should stop the world from going ahead to CONTINUE the investigations and establish the true facts about this whole case. This is what the whole world should force all concerned to do. I believe the dead would want the truth about their death to be established.

  99. 120 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 19:21


    Look at the comments in HYS. Mostly based in anti american. Now i’m wondering, did the scots release him because of that official hating Americans? I can’t imagine what would happen if the US released someone that killed 200 scots.

  100. 121 KC (Uk)
    August 20, 2009 at 19:22

    If I were a family relative of one of the victims of the bombing, I would be outright furious that he’s been let out of prison. It looks like oil and profit speaks louder than human morality. Am sure Bernie madoff will be let out on probation next year. It such a sad turn of events.!!!!!!!!!

  101. 122 Bert - USA
    August 20, 2009 at 19:32

    Sorry, Chrissy in Portalnd, but there is still no comparison. The incident was fully investigated, and the CO would not have been set free if he had been found guilty of something. This is silly. The airliner flew exactly where it knew not to go, when this ship was being attacked and was AT THE TIME engaging other air threats.

    Let’s quit with the self flagellation, shall we?

  102. August 20, 2009 at 19:38

    Justice have not been served. Victims families were compensated with huge sums of money. No family came forward and declined the money and demanded real criminal to be tried. When money was at play, why look for the criminal in the first place? Whole story is surrounded with confusion about who is the real criminal. Having that said, should the scottish judiciaries hold someone that they are not sure of?
    As far as UK govt. & BP oil deals with Libya are concern, thats a whole different ball game.
    No one should be under any illusion that they will not overwrite any of their humanitarian or democratic(so called) values.
    MONEY TALKS, GUESS WHAT WALKS? Gurantee, its true for all western systems.

  103. 124 Chris
    August 20, 2009 at 20:15

    Scotland didn’t want Al-Megrahi dying on their soil. It’s an absolutely spineless move under the guise of compassion. Are there any terminally ill prisoners in any Scottish jail, or is that cause for auto release? I hope the Scottish people are outraged at their government and personnel changes result. Until then I’m canceling next years trip to Scotland and I’ll head to Ireland where they still have courage. – An outraged New Yorker.

  104. 125 John in Salem
    August 20, 2009 at 20:18

    If he indeed walked onto the plane then I stand corrected – my information was wrong.
    However, I stand by my comments about justice and principles. He’s a dead man walking – you may have emotional reasons for wanting to hold him but the judicial arguments no longer apply.

  105. 126 Bob
    August 20, 2009 at 20:24

    To sink below the level of the terrorists makes those doing so, what? Giving a little compassion even in a case where the outcome is a forgone conclusion shows there are some who are capeable of thinking at a higher level than animals that have to be caged.

  106. 127 Tom K in Mpls
    August 20, 2009 at 20:34

    I can’t remember where, but I have heard that when he is in Libya, he has legal rights he could not use in Scotland. With this power he can force an investigation on what happened. Supposedly, it can bring up some questions that could be very embarrassing to several nations, including the US and UK.

    Does anyone have more on this?

  107. 128 Matthew Houston
    August 20, 2009 at 21:08

    Regarding both the US military commander who ordered the attack on the Iranian airliner and the Libyan who participated in the Lockerbie bombing:
    What role does power and political influence play in our determination of guilt? Why is it that a person performing a specific function is answerable to a different set of rules than a person acting as an ‘ordinary’ citizen? Is this setup inevitable, or is it reflective of a flaw in a representative/oligarchal system?

    Of course, this question necessarily raises a further question, “What alternative do we have?”
    While this is a legitimate question, is it reasonable not to follow it through?

    When a person claims to represent a body of people, by what standard do we determine their credibility and accountability? If their representation is deemed to be genuine, then who is accountable, and is this accountability universal in its application? It seems that in many cases accountability is relative to both power and opinion.

    This applies not only in major issues, but in relatively minor ones. A citizen’s word versus that of a police officer. Or how about a citizen’s word versus that of an illegal immigrant. How much does a person’s position or station in life determine how they are treated with relation to the dispensation of justice?

    Just to be clear, I’m personally not necessarily of the opinion that people who cause mass violence should be set free, but I do think it’s worth examining that mass violence (or perhaps even preparations for mass violence) ‘justifies’ and begets more of the same.

  108. 129 Deryck/Trinidad
    August 20, 2009 at 21:53

    @ Bert – USA

    “According to the US government, the crew mistakenly identified the Iranian Airbus A300 as an attacking F-14 Tomcat fighter”.(wikipedia)

    How could the americans mistake an AIRBUS A300 FOR A F-14 TOMCAT? That’s a highly dubious story.

    After completing their tour, the crew of the Vincennes was awarded Combat Action Ribbons for having actively participated in ground or surface combat, and the captain received the Legion of Merit.

    The United States did not admit responsibility or apologize to the Iranian government.

  109. 130 steve
    August 20, 2009 at 22:17


    So he should die in a comfy bed from morphine even though he killed 270 people? Why don’t we release all murderers then?

  110. 131 faysal
    August 20, 2009 at 22:44

    Is he the BOMBER??!! he’s rather been the SCAPEGOATING…

  111. 132 Ashleigh
    August 20, 2009 at 23:08

    The victims had to die without seeing their families. why should he get to see his?

  112. August 21, 2009 at 01:50

    He most definitely should not have been released. Libya has agreed that he would serve his sentence in the UK.

    So much for honour.

    The minister’s path was clear – abide by the ‘signed in good faith’ agreement.

    What is more important. Investments in Libya or honour.

    I thought our word was our bond – apparently serious written agreements aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    As one correspondent has stated, the victims didn’t have a chance to see their families when Libya passed sentence of death upon them.

    Any Libyan that regards him as a national hero is endorsing murder as a valid way of promoting their ideology,.

    The magic word as always is OIL

  113. 134 helen in usa
    August 21, 2009 at 02:20

    This brings up interesting and important questions in prosecuting terrorist suspects and thejurisdictions of the target of the attack for prosecution and,or,extradition.It may be in the instance of the intended and targeted country that there should be processes which allow the target of the attack to have an eminent and legally recognized role in every aspect of the prosecution of the suspect.A”life in prison”sentence means you are convicted and die in prison.If there was doubt of his guilt then a lesser sentence is the only answer a just system could give.It makes me question if he should have been convicted and sentenced at all.But if he is guilty and was sentenced to life in prison,like every other prisoner or murderer,he should die in prison.Because that is part of the life in prison sentence.

  114. 135 Dennis Junior
    August 21, 2009 at 03:03

    With all this in mind, do you think it was right to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds?

    I think NO he should not have been released on compassionate grounds, Since, other (killers for example) will be looking for the same treatment if they are dying from diseases e.g. Prostate Cancer…..

    I think that the Scottish Secretary of Justice decision is not right…

    =Dennis Junior=

  115. 136 Saeed
    August 21, 2009 at 05:35

    I am not defending Al-Megrahi, but my question is for Americans who so fiercly oppose his release: If you call Al-Megrahi a “mass-murderer” then what would you call the commander of USS Vincennes who killed 274 innocent civilians by targeting an IranAir flight in 1998?


  116. 137 Mark G
    August 21, 2009 at 06:10

    Bottom Line is Did he do it?
    He might be sick, he did walk from the Official Government Plane.
    Was he alone, or did he have help?
    Is he a pawn for both Political or Economic reasons?

    That really doesn’t matter anymore and the real answers will never be known.

    You want to have compassion now? I feel for the Families and those Friends who lost those that were dear to there hearts and will never forget.

  117. 138 cyd7
    August 21, 2009 at 06:18

    This is certainly a travesty, a sham. Blair is the responsible party for allowing this terrorist to go free!

    This was all about an agreement between Khodafi and Blair making an agreement for a big oil drill in Lybia. A real sham.

    Obviously, Blair could have cared less about anyone who was killed in that Pan Am crash! Unbelievable!!

  118. 139 scmehta
    August 21, 2009 at 06:38

    Do we really care about the public comments/opinions and outcries? If we had done that sincerely, the terrorist (the Lockerbie-bomber) wouldn’t have been released. This cold-blooded-killer didn’t care a fig, while planning to take hundreds of innocent lives, including women and children, and here we are showing compassion to him just because he happens to be terminally sick. What are we trying to prove? Our judicial incompetence or impotence?
    The fact is, that, if the terrorist was guilty, he should’ve been hanged without wasting anytime; and that his conviction, imprisonment and eventual release deal a severe blow to the credibility of our judicial systems, besides emboldening the criminals.

  119. 140 Kaushal Bhattarai
    August 21, 2009 at 07:38

    He should be freed on compassionate ground because he should get to enjoy his last times in his land. One may argue that what about the ‘compassion’ of those who lost their lives but we, civilized human beings, are not expected to behave like ‘tit-for-tat’.

  120. 141 Don
    August 21, 2009 at 08:09

    Justice isn’t “tit for tat.”

  121. 142 James Ian
    August 21, 2009 at 08:31

    I think most would agree that if he is not guilty then okay, but if he is truly guilty then it’s a travesty.

  122. 143 fmog
    August 21, 2009 at 09:04

    I have listened to the arguments for and against the returning of this man to Lybia on compassionate grounds and am appalled. The insistence that this man must pay for this terrible crime even though there are doubts about his guilt is symptomatic of a lynch mentality. What can one say about a society that wiIl deliberately delay the delivery of a reprieve to a criminal who was subsequently executed or lock people up for years without a trial. I believe that the governments of the time found it expedient to allocate the blame to Lybia although the case for Iran being the culprit was and still is valid. I sympathise with all those who lost loved ones and understand that all the families of the victims want closure but believe that even after Magrahi’s death investigations must continue and eventually the full truth with be disclosed.

  123. 144 Ibrahim in UK
    August 21, 2009 at 09:39

    The conviction against him was flimsy to start off with, and the new information that key witnesses lied in court and that evidence was planted meant that he would almost certainly win his appeal case.
    Can you image if he was forced to die in prison, and his appeal later showed him to be innocent.
    An innocent man dying at the orders of American and British politicians. A martyr.

    This way, he gets to live out the rest of his life at home, the British and Americans get to save face and pretend to be compassionate, and the Lockerbie case is closed and none of the truth or guilty parties ever need to be disclosed.

    • 145 R S
      August 21, 2009 at 14:43

      The release of this terrorist shows that the criminals wield more power than politicians who are reduced to mere puppets and are made to dance to their tune.

  124. 146 UkaH Emele
    August 21, 2009 at 11:05

    UKAH, from Nigeria.
    The scot authorities did the right thing in my view, because this man was not convicted based on concrete evidence

  125. 147 Philip Greene/Ohio/US
    August 21, 2009 at 17:25

    What the Lockerbie bombers did was abhorent, to say the least. But, personally, I feel that the Scotish Government is doing exactly the right thing in letting him go home to die.

    We have become a hateful, vengeful world and have forgotten the need to confront hate with compassion and fear with the courage to do what is right, rather than what is easy or “safe.” What Scotland did was to give us all an object lesson in what those things are all about. After all, how do we profit if we engage in the same hate and anger that was — however unwarranted — the reason for the terrorist attack in the first place? If we are truly better than those who wish to terrorise us, we need to show it by being of higher moral fibre.

    For what it is worth, I support the Scottish Government in this and applaud them for giving us a leadership based on compassion rather than hate.

  126. 148 Ed Evanko
    August 21, 2009 at 18:28

    Last evening watching Al-Jezeera and BBC comments were made that at the time of the bombing US & UK were believing it was someone from either Syria or Iran but they didn’t want to blame either country and even though the commentator indicated the reason I missed it. Then it was mentioned that Al Megrahi wanted to appeal his conviction and was kinda forced into discontinuing his appeal and could possibly be released from Prison. In my opinion, there is something that sticks in my mind and that is not to believe government officials. Now, the Scottish court decided to release the individual and that was their decision whether anyone believes it to be right or wrong – it’s done! He may have been an outstanding official in Libya. They wanting to honor him on his return in his homeland is none of my concern. Those that were killed can not be brought back to be with their loved ones and I feel very sad for families, friends who are still greiving and suffering over their losses.

    When the Iran aircraft was shot down, 290 lives taken and excuse – it was a mistake and no one was held responsible.

  127. 149 Nicola Kershaw
    August 21, 2009 at 21:06

    Surely every human being deserves the right to die with dignity, wherever possible. He will be judged in the next life, the same as everyone else.

  128. 150 Hector
    August 22, 2009 at 12:43

    No one is certain that Megrahi was guilty beyond reasonable doubt. Our cousins across the pond need to reflect on their faith and the business of cleaning up their own backyard. With some exceptions they are not interested in justice, only revenge. Somebody has to suffer for the crime as crime it surely was. The person ultimately reasonsible for the shooting down of a civil airliner causing the loss of 290 lives was promoted and quietly retired. No apology was made. Was this justice? I think not.

    • 151 Don
      August 24, 2009 at 10:33

      You say that “no one iscertain that Megrahi was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      On the contrary, according to the Wikipedia article, which quotes the trial verdict, the panel of three judges said of Megrahi: “There is nothing in the evidence which leaves us with any reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the first accused, and accordingly we find him guilty of the remaining charge in the indictment as amended.”

      It’s probably the case that he was “just following orders” but that defense wasn’t accepted for World War Two war criminals and it’s not likely to be accepted if CIA operatives and other Americans are (finally) brought to trial over more recent crimes.

      Personally, I have no problem with compassionate release. In my original post, I pointed out that there is a lesson to be learned from the hero’s welcome Mr. Megrahi has received. I think a similar lesson can be taken from many these comments. He wasn’t released because of any doubt of his guilt. He was released for the good Christian reason that it’s right to show compassion for the dying, even for dying criminals. However, we should be wary of believing people are our friends if they glorify criminals. He is to be pitied, not feted.

  129. 152 Mark G
    August 22, 2009 at 18:00

    Well, whats done is done. Whether this man is guilty or not, is no longer the issue. Thats up to the Authorities to decide.

    All of this has brought back very sad memories from those that had family or friends on that tragic day.

    My sympathies go out to those that lost someone. My sympathies go out to those that are the forgotten sufferers, those employees of Pan Am who also lost friends and families on that fateful day, and then eventually lost there careers when Pan Am closed its doors for good.

  130. August 23, 2009 at 12:32

    Its all about oil. Morality is a distant speck on the horizon.

  131. 154 Steve Stevenson
    August 23, 2009 at 14:04

    Just because a certain segment of the mostly American public disagrees, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do.

  132. August 23, 2009 at 17:45

    Good to see there is a Party with a bit of commonsense and not ruled by America, I will be voting S.N.P. next election

  133. 156 Juliette in Germany
    August 24, 2009 at 03:27

    well done Scotland!
    You have stood up to world´s biggest bully.
    As fellow europeans you have made us proud and shown us the way in just saying no
    to uncle sam

  134. 157 allan Okiria
    August 24, 2009 at 09:44

    the decision to release Al Megrahi is surely setting a dangerous precedent. compassion..what about it? where is the rationale in being lenient to a man who had it within his conscience to end the lives hundreds of people…was he compassionate to the families they left!! i think now all terrorist cells everywhere have been given a new tactic….recruit men with some ailment and the world will be compassionate to them. sick, sick and disgusting.

  135. 158 Mark G
    August 24, 2009 at 13:02

    Please, I want you to explain something to me:

    Lets say in America, we have a person in our Jails that acted as a Terrorist and killed a lot of British Citizens and because some die hard liberal feeling bad instead of this person finishing out his sentence was released how would you feel?

    Remember something, the majority of those poor souls on “Clipper Maid of the Sea” were not only American they were students of a local school in New York returning to go home for Christmas. Your all correct in where a lot of our Politicians like to tell other countries how and what to do, but this has nothing to do with that. Mrs Clinton and President Obama is looking out for Americans and you being British you’ve had your fair share of Terrorists also should be more sympathetic to our plight during this terrible situation.

    Mark G
    from New York and I also knew a lot of people that worked in what was known as Pan Am.

  136. 159 Evelyn
    August 24, 2009 at 23:06

    I am a Scot and I fully support my government’s decision to free this man on compassionate grounds. This type of decision is within the Scottish Criminal Justice system.

    If America has so much to say about his release, then I ask, why was he not in prison in America – then we would not be havi8ng these discussions.

    Since America went into both Afghanistan and Iraq mob handed together with the UK- to the UK’s shame – and have caused the deaths of far more than 270 deaths. Please do not also forget that this caused great sorrow in the village of Lockerbie where many died in their homes.

  137. 160 VR
    August 26, 2009 at 16:01

    The morality questions aside, Scotland must live with 2 things:

    The spectacle of being duped on the world stage

    The question of how many young people in the middle east will be inspired by the hero’s welcome of a mass murderer.

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