Magrahi’s Release : An objectionable deal ?

Megrahi during appeal proceedings
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The comment storm surrounding the ‘compassionate’ release of one of the men convicted of facilitating the dreadful Lockerbie airliner bombing, is only just starting. At some point, someone will inevitably say that Magrahi’s release was a function of the Scottish justice system and not a political decision. Cobblers of course as the release on compassionate, health or parole grounds involves the Home Secretary. Public interest played a significant part in the arguments affecting decisions to (not) release Moors murderer Myra Hindley on parole, despite the fact that perpetrators of similar crimes are routinely released under the tariffs maintained by our criminal justice system.

No, the arguments will of course surround any possible commercial interests. In these dark economic times, powerful arguments indeed. However, at some point, the moral aspects should hold sway. Did Magrahi do it ? Well, there is an appeals’ process to handle that. Meanwhile, it is difficult to support the government’s approach to the whole situation, especially when there is a hint of Mandelson playing broker behind the scenes.

There is more to come on this story. The Libyans have clearly ignored any private agreement to low-key the former spook’s homecoming. Obama and the entire USA is justifiably annoyed, even disgusted. The world will ask “why?” and then draw its own assumptions. Whatever the next revelation, it has once again pitched Britain’s dwindling reputation lower down the rubbish heap. Nice one, Gordon !

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MarkSeptember 3rd, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I, for one, am not going to hold my breath and find out when or if he is going to die. Life
(and death) goes on. Change starts with me.

ChrisSeptember 13th, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Just to pick you up on this. Compassionate grounds does not involve the home secretary as he was imprisoned under Scot’s law. The UK government hold no power within Scot’s law, in devolution this is decided by the Scottish Parliament, before devolution the Home Secretary wouldn’t be involved, this would have been dealt with by the Minister for Scotland.

A political decision this may have been, but a political decision by the SNP and the Scottish Government, and if you look at the relations between Labour and SNP, you’ll find little love for the Labour Party from the SNP, who’d be unlikely to do anything to please the Labour UK government.

SimonSeptember 13th, 2009 at 7:57 pm


Thanks for setting me straight on this point – something I realised more recently with the increased coverage. Seems Brown managed to screw the whole thing up politically despite not even getting involved. How does that man have a such a knack for making Britain look so bad ? My conclusion is that Brown is an SNP mole !

As for the SNP, fair comment. I saw Alex Salmond ducking and diving a bit on TV. I guess they followed the law and precedents for letting him go so fair play. If Obama is disgusted with us (or Scotland, but I doubt the USA distinguishes much between them and the Union)) for following our own rules then we cannot lose too much sleep. Whether directly involved or not, Magrahi is not a terribly nice chap and I imagine the Lockerbie families must be miffed. To the outside world, ‘we’ seemed to agonise more about the compassionate release of Bank Robber Ronnie Biggs than convicted mass murderer Magrahi. That’s politics !

Thanks again for the contribution.