Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ali al-Megrahi's Release

Its very unlikely I know, but imagine if Bin Laden was captured alive (or at least one of his leading cohorts). Imagine also that he was sentenced to life-long imprisonment for his crimes, not least for 9/11 (equally unlikely, the clamour for the death penalty would be high, unless many are convinced that to execute him would make a martyr of him, but I digress). Then imagine some eight years from now he was released on "compassionate grounds", how would that make you feel!
The passage of time sometimes diminishes the horror of an event, but Lockerbie was the 9/11 of the 1980s and for cold bloodedly killing 270 individuals, many of them innocent, some of them women and children, he does not deserve to be released. Its nothing to do with revenge, its making sure justice is seen to be done and that terrorists are not seen to be punished lightly, as the messages and consequences do not bear thinking about.


Paul said...

Well, I must say I'm gobsmacked. I've seen plenty of this kind of comment in the past 24 hours but I didn't expect to find it here.

Al Megrahi may be a world class scumbag but he is a human being. He is also not a free man, but the prisoner of a hideous illness which is shortly to send him to face a judge more competent than any of us.

Whatever Megrahi is, he is not a continuing threat. There is no political or national security imperative to keep him in jail. (This would not be the case if we were talking about Bin Laden, even if he were terminally ill.)

Since he is about to die anyway, there is no question of the deterrent effect of his sentence being undermined.

So what purpose would have been served by keeping him in jail? It wouldn't serve justice in any meaningful way. Sometimes vengeance is necessary to deter further aggression but that clearly doesn't apply to a man who is to all intents and purposes already dead. Keeping him locked up would just have meant that we had insisted on the opportunity to spit on his corpse.

Undignified, unworthy and certainly un-Christian. Megrahi denied his victims mercy. Are we really no better than him?

Paul Burgin said...

I see your point but there is more to it than that. al Megrahi was certainly not acting alone and his dropping of his appeal means we have no real chance of finding out much more about who else was behind this

Paul said...

He certainly wasn't acting alone. Don't see what his appeal would have brought out that a public inquiry couldn't. Whether it would be really worth doing at this point is another matter.

Anonymous said...

The point is he was given a life sentence so why shouldn't he serve a life sentence? If you're going to let people out on ill health grounds then that should be a condition of the sentence.

The victims of his crime were not spared so why should he be!