It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The First Minister is reported as having said that there was "no way on earth" that Scottish ministers would formally give evidence to a committee hearing of a foreign legislature, even if it were to be held in the UK, adding pointedly that it was impossible to imagine US lawmakers agreeing to such an interrogation on foreign soil. I too believe that Scottish ministers are accountable to the Scottish Parliament and ultimately the Scottish people alone.
At the core of this dispute, there seems to be what might be termed a "clash of cultures". In Scotland over many years we have cultivated through our justice system what I hope can be described as a "culture of compassion". On the other hand, there still exists in many parts of the US, if not nationally, an attitude towards the concept of justice which can only be described as a "culture of vengeance".
On 18 June 2010, Ronnie Lee Gardner was hooded, strapped to a chair and shot by a firing squad at a prison in Utah. He had been condemned to death for murder in 1985. He spent 25 years in solitary confinement, and ultimately was given an option as to how he preferred to die: by firing squad or by lethal injection. While his actions were inexcusable, his death did not bring back the life of his victim. His death will not prevent other violent murders. His death simply brought to an end a life of utter misery and darkness. His story is symptomatic of so many who sit incarcerated within the US justice system waiting to die. Ronnie Lee Gardner was first picked up by the authorities at the age of two, abandoned, wandering the streets in a nappy. He was sniffing glue by the time he was six, taking heroin at ten and sent to a mental home at 11 where he was sexually abused as a teenager.
His descent into violence was as predictable as it was piteous. Perhaps the consciences of some Americans, especially members of the US Senate, should be stirred by the ways in which "justice" is administered in so many of their own states. Perhaps it is time for them to "cast out the beam from their own eye before seeking the mote in their brothers". Perhaps they should direct their gaze inwards, rather than scrutinising the workings of the Scottish justice system.
Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.
The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.