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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , US-Libya relations

View Poll Results: Should convicted Libyan terrorist have been released?
Yes. He is a dying man and we should show compassion as a result. 11 11.34%
Yes. Such are the doubts over his conviction, and given that he will die before any appeal he should be released. 20 20.62%
Yes, but only under a prisoner transfer with strict rules over media access. 4 4.12%
No. Regardless of the legal considerations on the specific case, this hands a propaganda victory to the Libyan regime. 7 7.22%
No. He is legally guilty for the deaths of 270 people and should serve his sentence fully. 52 53.61%
Any other opinion, specify below! 3 3.09%
Voters: 97. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21st August 2009, 12:12 AM   #1
andyandy
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Should convicted Libyan terrorist have been released?

Well, what do you think?
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:20 AM   #2
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I saw a brother of a guy who died on that flight speak on the news yesterday. He said the terrorist was being released so he could spend the rest of his dying days with his family. He then said his brother never got that option.

I think that d-bag should stay in jail. Have his family come visit him.
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:22 AM   #3
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Since it seems likely he didn't actually do it after all, yes, release him.
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:36 AM   #4
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Leaving to one side questions as to whether or not he is actually guilty (I don't know enough about the legal case itself) I don't think that he should have been released. It is quite a complex situation however.

Firstly, assuming that he is guilty, he really hasn't spent that long in jail. If it was the same situation but with the chap already having served (say) 30 years already, then I might be more amenable to a compassionate release.

Second, there are ways of showing compassion without complete release. We could have set up a house arrest in Scotland which would have allowed close family time to spend with their dying relative. We could have arranged a prisoner transfer to Libya, where he would serve out the remainder of his sentence close to his family.

Thirdly, you can't separate the individual considerations from the political ramifications of the release. The scenes at the Libyan airport were pretty appalling. Cheering crowds, waving flags, triumphant arms aloft and even confetti for heavens sake! This is still a man who has been found legally guilty of responsibility for killing 270 people, likely at the behest of the same political leader who is now smiling and waving with him for the cameras. It is hard to imagine a more distasteful image. Certainly it appears as a propaganda coup for the Libyan government and a public relations own goal by Scotland.
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:42 AM   #5
MikeSun5
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Originally Posted by Damien Evans View Post
Since it seems likely he didn't actually do it after all, yes, release him.
huh? I guess I need to do some more reading...

You suppose he's completely innocent? Even if he was just a co-conspirator, I think he deserved the past 30 years in jail for helping kill 270 humans.

If he was completely innocent, of course he should be free. Of course if he had nothing to do with it, I wonder how they even got him. Scotland just extradited two random dudes from Libya?
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I always wondered if those WWJD bracelets worked, so I bought one. Well later, I was on a plane and this little kid was kicking my seat repeatedly, while his sister sang along with her walkman and their mother just sat there. I almost turned around and went off, and then I caught sight of my bracelet. What would Jesus do? So I lit them on fire and sent them all to Hell.
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Last edited by MikeSun5; 21st August 2009 at 12:43 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:43 AM   #6
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Despite having designed the poll answers, none of them quite match my own opinion. I think that house arrest in Scotland may have been the best option, given that it is clear that any release back to Libya even under a prisoner transfer would have been exploited by the Libyan regime. Barring that, he could have remained in jail with greater visiting access for relatives.
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:44 AM   #7
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when he is guilty i see absolutly no reasson why he should be free.
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Old 21st August 2009, 01:23 AM   #8
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I think the Scottish justice system is fair and not corrupt, so in the absense of compelling evidence that Megrahi is not guilty, I'm going with the verdict.

No, he should have not been released. The propaganda boost this gives to terrorists cannot be underestimated. And didn't he look better getting off the plane than getting on?
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Old 21st August 2009, 01:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I think the Scottish justice system is fair and not corrupt, so in the absense of compelling evidence that Megrahi is not guilty, I'm going with the verdict.
Good point. On one hand we have folks saying that the release shows the fairness and compassion of the Scottish government, while these same folks call the trial a miscarriage of justice. Which is it?
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Old 21st August 2009, 01:46 AM   #10
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I'm happy fo him to be released on compassionate grounds, but I think whatever pressure was put on him to drop his appeal was wrong. This way we will not find out the truth.
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Old 21st August 2009, 01:47 AM   #11
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The BBC has an article on the doubts regarding Megrahi's guilt:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8211596.stm

I can't say I'm convinced one way or another. I'm disappointed that the appeal won't be going through and that no other test of the new evidence seems likely. (Well... I'm sure there will be documentaries and the like, but that really isn't good enough). Both sides say no deal was done, but that doesn't resolve doubt over Megrahi's guilt.


As for what should have happened...
I agree with Andy. Some kind of house arrest, which would allow Megrahi to stay with his family but wouldn't actually free him.
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Old 21st August 2009, 01:49 AM   #12
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I'd like to vote for both 1 and 2, but the poll isn't set up that way.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st August 2009, 01:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Good point. On one hand we have folks saying that the release shows the fairness and compassion of the Scottish government, while these same folks call the trial a miscarriage of justice. Which is it?

You have a problem realising that it's both?

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Old 21st August 2009, 01:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Alt+F4 View Post
Good point. On one hand we have folks saying that the release shows the fairness and compassion of the Scottish government, while these same folks call the trial a miscarriage of justice. Which is it?
As I understand it, a miscarriage of justice is simply when the court comes up with the wrong verdict. It doesn't of itself imply that the trial was biased -- ie: it allows for honest mistakes.
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Old 21st August 2009, 02:00 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by FireGarden View Post
The BBC has an article on the doubts regarding Megrahi's guilt:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8211596.stm

I can't say I'm convinced one way or another.

I think that's exactly the point. Remember, a criminal conviction has to be proved "beyond reasonable doubt". I don't think any of us can possibly say he didn't do it. But what seems to me fairly clear is that there are wodges and stacks of extremely reasonable doubt. This makes the conviction unsafe in anybody's book.

It reminds me a bit of the Barry George affair. There was an enormous amount of reasonable doubt about his guilt, but there was also a lot of pressure to pin that murder on someone. It took at least two appeals before he was released.

In saying that he shouldn't have been convicted I'm not saying I have some supernatural insight into the truth, I'm just observing that the standards of proof for a criminal conviction do not appear to have been met.

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Old 21st August 2009, 02:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by FireGarden View Post
As I understand it, a miscarriage of justice is simply when the court comes up with the wrong verdict. It doesn't of itself imply that the trial was biased -- ie: it allows for honest mistakes.
I can understand honest mistakes in any trial I just don't think the Scottish government should have agreed that no one else in Libya would be sought for the bombing in exchange for Megrahi and Fhimah.
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Old 21st August 2009, 02:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
No, he should have not been released. The propaganda boost this gives to terrorists cannot be underestimated. And didn't he look better getting off the plane than getting on?
While I agree with what you wrote, I assume you meant to say overestimated, and I don't understand it, it's standard procedure. If someone commits a terrorist act at the behest of an organisation that is or becomes a recognised government, then they stop being a terrorist. Libya is no longer regarded as a sponsor of terror we're friends again, Sinn Fein is in government in Norn Iron, the UK recognises the US government etc. etc.
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Old 21st August 2009, 02:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
While I agree with what you wrote, I assume you meant to say overestimated, and I don't understand it, it's standard procedure. If someone commits a terrorist act at the behest of an organisation that is or becomes a recognised government, then they stop being a terrorist. Libya is no longer regarded as a sponsor of terror we're friends again, Sinn Fein is in government in Norn Iron, the UK recognises the US government etc. etc.
I just say Gadaffi......
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Old 21st August 2009, 03:10 AM   #19
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I posted this in the other thread, if you already read it, feel free to skip.

Originally Posted by MikeSun5 View Post
I think that d-bag should stay in jail.

One thing all the posts taking this line are forgetting. Let's for a minute ignore our huge doubts about Megrahi's guilt. Let's assume the conviction was sound (though how that can be, if it was specifically stated that he couldn't have done it without his co-accused, but then the co-accused was found not guilty, sort of excapes me....)

Megrahi's involvement in this was as a low-level operative. He didn't decide out of his own little head to blow up an airliner. He didn't come up with the plan all by himself.

If it did happen the way the prosecution said, it was by way of the Libyan government and specifically Gadaffi deciding to do it, then instructing its employees (including but not limited to Megrahi) to go odd and carry out the plan. This is absolutely borne out by the fact that the Libyan government paid out millions in compensation to the families of the victims.

So how come everybody is slavering for Megrahi's blood, but we're all now bestest friends with Gadaffi? He gets to have talks with Tony Blair and ambassadors and attend summit meetings and we're all just so pleased to be on good terms with him now....

If the Camp Zeist verdict is correct, then it was Gaddafi who decided to carry out the atrocity, planned and ordered it.

Hypocrisy, anyone?

Rolfe.
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Old 21st August 2009, 03:16 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by MikeSun5 View Post
huh? I guess I need to do some more reading...

You suppose he's completely innocent? Even if he was just a co-conspirator, I think he deserved the past 30 years in jail for helping kill 270 humans.

If he was completely innocent, of course he should be free. Of course if he had nothing to do with it, I wonder how they even got him. Scotland just extradited two random dudes from Libya?

This controversy has been going on for 20 years. It's CT on a par with 9/11, but with a lot more rationality to it, and credence from many perfectly sane respected people, including a substantial number of the relatives of those who were killed.

Try this account, it's about the easiest to follow that I've seen.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n12/mile01_.html

Here is the official report relating to Megrahi being given leave to appeal, which only lets the very strongest bits of the jigsaw through its net.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/h...wlockerbie.pdf

Wikipedia has a page about it too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_...iracy_theories

Separate from its non-CT page, which is also interesting.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103

I merely observe that this isn't my idea of guilt proven "beyond reasonable doubt".

Rolfe.
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Old 21st August 2009, 03:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
Well, what do you think?

I don't mind the decision if he's dying soon anyway. After all, the Scottish people aren't Terrorists nor are they death-penalty-barbarians.
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Old 21st August 2009, 05:27 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
Well, what do you think?
Well, if they hadn't been released, the Libyans never would have shot Doc causing Marty to try to escape in the DeLorean.
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Old 21st August 2009, 09:53 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
Second, there are ways of showing compassion without complete release.
I have a better idea.

How about we let him rot in his cell and show no compassion whatsoever?


The entire point of compassion is the exact reason he doesn't deserve any.
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Old 21st August 2009, 10:00 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by andyandy View Post
Leaving to one side questions as to whether or not he is actually guilty (I don't know enough about the legal case itself) I don't think that he should have been released. It is quite a complex situation however.

Firstly, assuming that he is guilty, he really hasn't spent that long in jail. If it was the same situation but with the chap already having served (say) 30 years already, then I might be more amenable to a compassionate release.

Second, there are ways of showing compassion without complete release. We could have set up a house arrest in Scotland which would have allowed close family time to spend with their dying relative. We could have arranged a prisoner transfer to Libya, where he would serve out the remainder of his sentence close to his family.

Thirdly, you can't separate the individual considerations from the political ramifications of the release. The scenes at the Libyan airport were pretty appalling. Cheering crowds, waving flags, triumphant arms aloft and even confetti for heavens sake! This is still a man who has been found legally guilty of responsibility for killing 270 people, likely at the behest of the same political leader who is now smiling and waving with him for the cameras. It is hard to imagine a more distasteful image. Certainly it appears as a propaganda coup for the Libyan government and a public relations own goal by Scotland.
Well put.
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Old 21st August 2009, 12:17 PM   #25
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andyandy, FTW.
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Old 21st August 2009, 05:28 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
And didn't he look better getting off the plane than getting on?
It's the reverse of the mafia Don who suddenly becomes too sick to stand trial once arrested and charged.

It will be interesting to see how long he actually lives. Prostate cancer is usually VERY treatable and has a high 5-year survival rate.

The hero's welcome was sickening.
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Old 21st August 2009, 06:29 PM   #27
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Well, he was diagnosed in an NHS hospital, and treated. The specialists have said his cancer is very aggressive, and is no longer responding to treatment. The cancer specialist who was interviewed on TV about this is a hugely respected senior consultant.

When we finally got a look at Megrahi after he got to Tripoli, I was shocked by how sick he looked. He's little older than I am, and he looked elderly. In fact, the reason I was shocked is that he looked exactly like my cousin's husband who died of prostate cancer about ten years ago. He wasn't diagnosed because he didn't go to his doctor until he was suffering from back pain. Which was of course way too late. This one looks to be going exactly the same way.

You could use this as an example to recommend that the NHS introduce routine screening for PSA, and you could have a point, although such screening programmes are not without their problems. However, there's no reason to believe that Megrahi hasn't got exactly what Prof. Karol Sikora says he has.

I can understand why you felt sickened by the "hero's welcome". However, bear in mind that nobody in that crowd would have believed he blew up the plane. Hell, half the population of Scotland don't believe he blew up the plane! The Libyan welcoming party saw a compatriot who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, by a foreign power which deliberately framed him. If you'd been in their position, wouldn't you have cheered, even if you'd been told not to?

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Old 21st August 2009, 06:40 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Well, he was diagnosed in an NHS hospital, and treated. The specialists have said his cancer is very aggressive, and is no longer responding to treatment. The cancer specialist who was interviewed on TV about this is a hugely respected senior consultant.

When we finally got a look at Megrahi after he got to Tripoli, I was shocked by how sick he looked. He's little older than I am, and he looked elderly. In fact, the reason I was shocked is that he looked exactly like my cousin's husband who died of prostate cancer about ten years ago. He wasn't diagnosed because he didn't go to his doctor until he was suffering from back pain. Which was of course way too late. This one looks to be going exactly the same way.

You could use this as an example to recommend that the NHS introduce routine screening for PSA, and you could have a point, although such screening programmes are not without their problems. However, there's no reason to believe that Megrahi hasn't got exactly what Prof. Karol Sikora says he has.

I can understand why you felt sickened by the "hero's welcome". However, bear in mind that nobody in that crowd would have believed he blew up the plane. Hell, half the population of Scotland don't believe he blew up the plane! The Libyan welcoming party saw a compatriot who was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, by a foreign power which deliberately framed him. If you'd been in their position, wouldn't you have cheered, even if you'd been told not to?

Rolfe.
He was convicted in a Scottish court (what has changed since then?) and sentenced "at least 27 years". Pardon me if I didn't see an asterix in that sentence. I don't know what the cheering crowd believed, some may have thought he was innocent. Some may have been cheering the deed, just like Samir Kuntar is now a Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian national hero for bashing in the head of a 4 year old Israeli child.

Thoroughly sickening, and you may well think of yourselves as compassionate but the overwhelming mood here is you've been played for fools.
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Old 21st August 2009, 06:45 PM   #29
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Fair enough, you're entitled to your opinion.

I'm not familiar with the other example you refer to.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st August 2009, 07:09 PM   #30
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I think I'll take the odd position that the Scottish government was in a better place to make an informed decision than me about this guy.

Of course, Fox News is declaring this a nightmare for Obama (?) and how evil the guy is without mentioning the claims of innocence... So maybe I will say it was a good decision .
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Old 21st August 2009, 07:40 PM   #31
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The thing is, almost the last thing the SNP wants to do is hack off the US government. In just over a year, it hopes to have a referendum on independence, and if that goes well, then the last thing Scotland needs while negotiating independence is the opposition of the USA.

I believe that releasing Megrahi was seen as the right thing to do, so much so that it was done even though it carried potentially damaging political consequences.

Rolfe.
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Old 21st August 2009, 07:49 PM   #32
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8215554.stm

I only see outrage in the US growing over this. And even as we speak they feel the need to brag about how they have irrefutable evidence that he is innocent. It will get even worse if this guy lives past his "sentence from a higher power".
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Old 21st August 2009, 08:04 PM   #33
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In the last decade there have been just 30 requests for compassionate release in Scotland, 23 which were granted. I can only imagine that the 7 denials were for eating live babies or something.
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Old 21st August 2009, 08:34 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Megrahi's involvement in this was as a low-level operative. He didn't decide out of his own little head to blow up an airliner. He didn't come up with the plan all by himself.
Rolfe, thanks for the links. I did learn a lot about this case, and there does seem to be a fair bit of shady business... Angry people aren't above scapegoating the people easiest to catch.
Of course I still stand by my opinion that a co-conspiritor in a plot to kill 270 people deserves life in prison. In our media-saturated age, the number of deaths from tragedies seem to lose their gravity. 270 is a LOT of people. If that man helped murder 270 human beings (even in a low-level way), then yes. He should be in jail forever. Let his family visit him in the old Graybar Hotel.

If he had absolutely nothing to do with it, then Scotland owes him and his family a debt too large for words.
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Old 21st August 2009, 08:41 PM   #35
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Libya is playing this for all the propaganda it's worth. According to the Libyan government, this isn't about compassion for a dying man at all:
Quote:
But on Thursday, after al Megrahi's return, the Libyan official news agency JANA issued a statement from the government saying that al Megrahi had been "a political hostage," as evidenced by his release.
Yep, this is about those bastard Scots finally doing the right thing and releasing a political hostage.

Oh, and Kadhafi's son says it was also done as a prerequisite for a trade deal with Britain.

Like I said, played for fools.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 12:52 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
He was convicted in a Scottish court (what has changed since then?) and sentenced "at least 27 years". Pardon me if I didn't see an asterix in that sentence.
You think the sentencing judge was unaware that the Scottish legal system allows for a convict to be pardoned and that this means he might be released early?
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Old 22nd August 2009, 01:37 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
Some may have been cheering the deed, just like Samir Kuntar is now a Lebanese, Syrian, and Iranian national hero for bashing in the head of a 4 year old Israeli child.
Kuntar denies killing Einat Haran.
The evidence to suggest he did is strong, however -- much more convincing than in the case of Megrahi. That doesn't mean that everyone believes it.
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Old 22nd August 2009, 01:41 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Leif Roar View Post
You think the sentencing judge was unaware that the Scottish legal system allows for a convict to be pardoned and that this means he might be released early?
Is "pardoned" the correct word here?
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Old 22nd August 2009, 01:42 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
Libya is playing this for all the propaganda it's worth. According to the Libyan government, this isn't about compassion for a dying man at all:

Yep, this is about those bastard Scots finally doing the right thing and releasing a political hostage.

Oh, and Kadhafi's son says it was also done as a prerequisite for a trade deal with Britain.

Like I said, played for fools.
that sounds almost too crazy to be true. The link isn't working for me though... where is this info from? Libya itself?
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Old 22nd August 2009, 03:02 AM   #40
Leif Roar
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Originally Posted by FireGarden View Post
Is "pardoned" the correct word here?
Hmm. It appears not, at least if we're going to be exact. It seems that in the UK pardons can only be issued by the Queen (on the advice of the Home Secretary or the First Minister of Scotland.

The distinction between pardons and releases on compassionate grounds isn't really important, though. My point was that the sentence was issued in the knowledge that it might not be carried out fully. The "asterix" sought by WildCat lies in that the context of the sentence is the Scottish penal system and all that implies on the treatment of prisoners.
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