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Lockerbie bomber returns to Libya

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posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 10:22 AM

The Lockerbie bomber has left Scotland on board a plane bound for Libya after being freed from prison on compassionate grounds.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, was jailed in 2001 for the atrocity which claimed 270 lives in 1988.

The decision to release Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, was made by the Scottish Government.

The White House said it "deeply regretted" the decision and some of the US victims' families reacted angrily.

A police convoy left Greenock Prison, where Megrahi was serving his sentence, more than an hour after the announcement of his release was made.

He was taken to Glasgow Airport to board the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus plane bound for Tripoli, which took off shortly before 1530 BST.

The government said it had consulted widely before Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill made his decision on applications for Megrahi's compassionate release or his transfer to a Libyan jail. He told a media conference on Thursday that he had rejected the application for a prisoner transfer.

However, after taking medical advice it was expected that three months was a "reasonable estimate" of the time Megrahi had left to live.

He ruled out the option of the Libyan being allowed to live in Scotland on security grounds.

And Mr MacAskill stressed that he accepted the conviction and sentence which had been handed to Megrahi.

"Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them," he said.

"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days."

Mr MacAskill continued: "Our justice system demands that judgement be imposed, but compassion be available.

"For these reasons and these reasons alone, it is my decision that Mr Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi, convicted in 2001 for the Lockerbie bombing, now terminally ill with prostate cancer, be released on compassionate grounds and be allowed to return to Libya to die."

Mr MacAskill had been under intense pressure from the US government to keep Megrahi behind bars, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying his release would be "absolutely wrong".

"Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs the we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people - no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated," he added.

Some 189 Americans were among those who died in the airliner explosion.

Reacting to the decision, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement: "The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi.

"As we have expressed repeatedly to officials of the government of the United Kingdom and to Scottish authorities, we continue to believe that Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland."

The families of American victims of the Lockerbie bombing reacted angrily to the news.

Kara Weipz, of Mt Laurel, New Jersey, who lost her 20-year-old brother Richard Monetti, said: "I don't understand how the Scots can show compassion. It is an utter insult and utterly disgusting.

"It is horrible. I don't show compassion for someone who showed no remorse."

New York state resident Paul Halsch, whose 31-year-old wife was killed, said of Mr MacAskill's decision: "I'm totally against it. He murdered 270 people.

"This might sound crude or blunt, but I want him returned from Scotland the same way my wife Lorraine was and that would be in a box."

Megrahi was convicted of murder in January 2001 at a trial held under Scottish law in the Netherlands.

A first appeal against that verdict was rejected the following year.

However, in 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission granted him a second appeal.

It subsequently emerged he was suffering from terminal cancer but a bid to have him granted bail was refused.

His second appeal got under way this year but shortly afterwards applications were made for both his transfer to a Libyan jail and release on compassionate grounds.

Earlier this week the High Court in Edinburgh allowed Megrahi's application to drop his second appeal.

Right, now this whole debacle is over with we can focus on more important news hmmm

BBC and Sky both showed his plane take-off and his journey to the airport. I know this is an important issue to discuss, but there's such a thing as media going over the top. Are they trying to turn him into a celebrity, because that's how the media are portraying him by senseless focussing on this story all afternoon. I also disagree with media focussing on celebrities as well.

I know the families are angry, but can they have an objective view? By releasing a dying man who has served a long time in prison already we are showing that we are a civilised society and we don't make our decisions based on revenge. His release will go down in history as being the right thing to do, or just even better just forgotten altogether.

This is probably related to oil deals with Libya, and maybe the US govt. are playing bad cop routine, maybe they're not.

The Whitehouse released a statement saying they regret the decision the Scottish have made. Hmm this made me think, wtf has this got to do with the American govt beyond their requests to keep him in prison? The man was tried under Scottish law and released under Scottish law. It's regrettable that the American govt. cannot respect Scottish Law!!!

[edit on 20-8-2009 by john124]

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 01:21 PM
Fact is, he never done it! Or even if he did, he was acting with others and under the orders of his commanders or government.
The majority of the british families support the decision to release him precisely because they do not think that his conviction was sound or brought closure to the case.
If, as the story goes, he was acting on behalf of the libyans then he was acting under orders - a soldier.
He isn't personally responsible for what happenned , however you look at it.
I lived less than 40 miles from Lockerbie at the time of the tragedy.
The families who are spitting blood over his release should look at the bigger picture and understand that his role is as a scapegoat in a much bigger game.
Libya paid the compensation to the families, not as an admission of guilt but to get the sanctions against their country lifted. Gadaffis son has said so publicly.
It was the right decision.

posted on Mar, 4 2010 @ 02:16 PM
How the UK employed Prince Andrew, the Duke of York to set up Libyan oil deals for compassionate release of the Lockerbie bomber Megrahi.

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York is the second son and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. As well as carrying out various royal duties, he currently serves as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment reporting to Peter Mandelson who is the UK's current First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, President of the Board of Trade and Lord President of the Council. In that capacity he has visited Libya and met with Gaddafi several times to set up oil deals.

In 2007, Prince Andrew was appointed by his mother, the Queen, as the Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland in 2007, a post previously held by David Steel, the first Presiding Officer of the re-convened Scottish Parliament and a post now held by George Reid, the 2nd former Presiding Officer of the new Scottish Parliament.

By use of such patronage, the UK royal family is able to form close links with influential persons in Scottish politics and with the Scottish churches.

Therefore Prince Andrew has all the connections anyone would ever need to set up a Libyan oil deals for Scottish justice "compassionate release" for the Lockerbie bomber.

Indeed, Colonel Gaddafi has publicly thanked Prince Andrew for arranging the release of Megrahi.

So Peter Mandelson may claim to know nothing of any such deal but he certainly appointed the right person, Prince Andrew, to set such a deal up and it looks like that is exactly what has happened.

Therefore whereas it may well be the case that Kenny MacAskill has not personally profited from Libyan oil deal money, it is entirely possible that some back channel deal involving third party donations to one or more of the Church of Scotland's worthy causes has bought pro-compassionate-release spiritual advice from the Church of Scotland clerics to Kenny MacAskill and it may be it is those who interpret MacAskill's Christian faith for him who were the ones who have convinced him that compassionate release was the thing to do in Megrahi's case.

Certainly, the church is always short of money and certainly that is how Arab monarchs and dictators often operate in their own countries - by funding Islamic programmes and sometimes even getting the Islamic clerics to put out pro-jehadi messages when they wish to incite terrorist wars by proxy fought by the likes of Al Qaeda but in a plausibly deniable way which is not easily identified directly as being ordered by the monarch or dictator concerned.

So supporting terrorism in this modest way has begun in European Christian churches as bought by Arab or African oil money. What is next?

Are we going to see Libyan or other oil money funding Christian crusader suicide bombers, bought and paid for by oil deal money?

It happened in the Arab world and it could happen here. The release of this terrorist is just the start unless we get wise to what this oil money in the wrong hands is buying - a terrorist war against our values of freedom and democracy and in favour of monarchy and dictatorship.

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