The Megrahi situation just keeps rearing its ugly head. It has been debated in the Scottish Parliament and Westminster. Even the US Senate has had their say on the matter. The Scottish Government thrust our country into the international political limelight when the decision was made by Kenny MacAskill’s to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.
The decision of the Justice Minister to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber was without any doubt correct. The Scottish Government released a man who was terminally ill and returned him to his home country to live out his final weeks before the aggressive cancer consumes him; as any terminally ill prisoner would be. Simple it seems. However, the crime he ‘commited’ made sure he was no normal prisoner.
Megrahi was the only man found guilty of the worst terrorist attack on UK soil. 270 people were killed. Nobody survived. I suppose that complicates matters a bit. Why should the Scottish Government, ANY Government, release a terrorist, convicted of taking so many lives – surely he should rot in jail?
Just because Megrahi was convicted doesn’t mean he was guilty.
It was not the Libyan’s who were targeted as the perpotrators to begin with. Instead the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was blamed and targeted by the leaders of the investigation. However following the Gulf War with Iraq it was in contradiction to US and UK politics to target a Syrian backed Palestinian terror group.
It was imperative to make sure Syria remained on the side of the coalition as there was potential to exploit their oil exports during peaceitme. Over and above this, Iran, close allies with Syria were also key to keep on side to prevent them aligning with Iraq in the war. In 1991 after the Gulf War finished, the finger of blame for the Lockerbie Bombing turned to Libya. This was for both the US and UK an easy political option, targeting a country with links to the IRA and previous terror attacks against the West. As such the two accused stood trial after Libya were convinced to extradite after trade sanctions were lifted. The prosecution presented mountains of circumstantial evidence in court, providing no eyewitness or identifying any motive including one very heavily bribed Maltese witness.
The defence provided hard evidence pointing to the original suspects; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, acting under instruction of Iran. The suggestion being that this was a retaliation attack after the US shot down an Iranian passenger flight they had mistaken for a fighter, killing 290. However the three Judges who sat in the Scottish Court in the Netherlands found Megrahi guilty. An impartial adviser for the United Nations called the decision;
“A shocking miscarriage of justice.”
I cannot help but agree with him. Abdelbaset al Megrahi was a political prisoner and a scapegoat. It suited the United Kingdom and The United States to bring him to justice rather than go after potential allies. Scotland have done nothing more than release an innocent man, and it made me very proud to be Scottish.