Wednesday, 19 August 2009


The so-called Lockerbie Bomber, Mr Megahi, is to be released and repatriated to-morrow on compassionate grounds. The Scottish government has resisted pressure from the revolting Clinton and a clutch of big hair, multi-millionaire senators, to continue Megrahi's imprisonment, in order to placate their braindead, overweight constituents.

Had the decision been Brown's or Straw's or Millipede's we know, all too well, what would have happened, Scotland, best part of England.


The Scottish Government

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lockerbie decision

Kenny MacAskillCabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill

Decisions on the applications for prisoner transfer and compassionate release in relation to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi

August 20, 2009


It is my privilege to serve as the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Government of Scotland. It is a post in which I take great pride, but one which carries with it great responsibility. Never, perhaps, more so than with these decisions that I now have to make.

On the evening of 21 December 1988 a heinous crime was perpetrated. It claimed the lives of 270 innocent civilians. Four days before Christmas, men, women and children going about their daily lives were cruelly murdered. They included 11 from one small Scottish town. That town was Lockerbie - a name that will forever be associated with the worst terrorist atrocity ever committed on UK soil.

A prisoner transfer application has been submitted by the Government of Libya seeking the transfer of Mr Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi. The man convicted of those offences in the Scottish courts. He has also now sought to be released on compassionate grounds due to his prostate cancer that is terminal.

This crime precedes both the election of our Government and even the restoration of a Parliament in Scotland. I now find myself having to make these decisions. However, the applications have been lawfully made, and I am obliged to address them. Final advice from my officials was given late on Friday 14 August 2009. I have now had an opportunity to reflect upon this.

Let me be absolutely clear. As Cabinet Secretary for Justice in Scotland it is my responsibility to decide upon these two applications. These are my decisions and my decisions alone.

In considering these applications I have strictly followed due process, including the procedures laid down in the Prisoner Transfer Agreement and in the Scottish Prison Service guidance on compassionate release. I have listened to many representations and received substantial submissions.

Let me be quite clear on matters on which I am certain. The Scottish police and prosecution service undertook a detailed and comprehensive investigation with the assistance of the US and other authorities. I pay tribute to them for the exceptional manner in which they operated in dealing with both the aftermath of the atrocity and the complexity of a world-wide investigation. They are to be commended for their tenacity and skill. When Mr Al-Megrahi was brought to justice, it was before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands. And I pay tribute to our Judges who presided and acted justly.

Mr Al-Megrahi was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of 270 people. He was given a life sentence and a punishment part of 27 years was fixed. When such an appalling crime is perpetrated it is appropriate that a severe sentence be imposed.

Mr Al-Megrahi has since withdrawn his appeal against both conviction and sentence. As I have said consistently throughout, that is a matter for him and the courts. That was his decision. My decisions are predicated on the fact that he was properly investigated, a lawful conviction passed and a life sentence imposed.

I realise that the abandonment of the appeal has caused concern to many. I have indicated that I am grateful to and proud of those who have served in whatever capacity in bringing this case to justice. I accept the conviction and sentence imposed. However, there remain concerns to some on the wider issues of the Lockerbie atrocity.

This is a global issue, and international in its nature. The questions to be asked and answered are beyond the jurisdiction of Scots law and the restricted remit of the Scottish Government. If a further inquiry were felt to be appropriate then it should be initiated by those with the required power and authority. The Scottish Government would be happy to fully co-operate in such an inquiry.

I now turn to the matters before me that I require to address. An application under the Prisoner Transfer Agreement and an application for compassionate release have been made. I now deal with them in turn.

Prisoner Transfer

Firstly, the prisoner transfer agreement.

The Libyan Government applied on 5 May 2009 for the transfer of Mr Al-Megrahi. Prisoner Transfer Agreements are negotiated by the United Kingdom Government.

Throughout the negotiations and at the time of the signing of the PTA with Libya, the Scottish Government's opposition was made clear. It was pointed out that the Scottish Prison Service had only one Libyan prisoner in custody. Notwithstanding that, the UK Government failed to secure, as requested by the Scottish Government, an exclusion from the PTA for anyone involved in the Lockerbie Air Disaster. As a consequence Mr Al-Megrahi is eligible for consideration for transfer in terms of the agreement entered into by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Libya.

I received numerous letters and representations, and recognised that a decision on transfer would be of personal significance to those whose lives have been affected. Accordingly, I decided to meet with groups and individuals with a relevant interest.

I met with the families of victims: those from the United Kingdom who had relatives on board the flight, as well as those whose kinfolk were murdered in their homes in Lockerbie; a lady from Spain whose sister was a member of the cabin crew; and I held a video conference with families from the United States. I am grateful to each and every one of them for their fortitude on a matter which I know is still a source of great pain.

I also spoke to the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the United States Attorney General, Eric Holder. I met Minister Alobidi and his delegation from the Libyan Government to hear their reasons for applying for transfer, and to present to them the objections that had been raised to their application.

I have noted and considered all the points presented, and also relevant written representations I received.

Prior to ratification of the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, it was scrutinised by the Westminster Joint Committee on Human Rights, to which Jack Straw, UK Secretary of State for Justice, gave a commitment that in cases where applications were not submitted personally by the prisoner, the prisoner must be given the opportunity to make representations. Mr Al-Megrahi had the opportunity to make representations, and he chose to do so in person. Therefore I was duty bound to receive his representations. I accordingly met him.

It was clear that both the United States Government and the American families objected to a prisoner transfer. They did so on the basis of agreements they said had been made, prior to trial, regarding the place of imprisonment of anyone convicted.

The United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, was in fact deputy Attorney General to Janet Reno at the time of the pre-trial negotiations. He was adamant that assurances had been given to the United States Government that any person convicted would serve his sentence in Scotland. Many of the American families spoke of the comfort that they placed upon these assurances over the past ten years. That clear understanding was reiterated to me, by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I sought the views of the United Kingdom Government. I offered them the right to make representations or provide information. They declined to do so. They simply informed me that they saw no legal barrier to transfer and that they gave no assurances to the US Government at the time. They have declined to offer a full explanation as to what was discussed during this time, or to provide any information to substantiate their view. I find that highly regrettable.

I therefore do not know what the exact nature of those discussions was, nor what may have been agreed between Governments. However, I am certain of the clear understanding of the American families and the American Government.

Therefore it appears to me that the American families and Government either had an expectation, or were led to believe, that there would be no prisoner transfer and the sentence would be served in Scotland.

It is for that reason that the Libyan Government's application for prisoner transfer for Abdelbasit Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi I accordingly reject.

Compassionate Release

I now turn to the issue of compassionate release.

Section three of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 gives the Scottish Ministers the power to release prisoners on licence on compassionate grounds.

The Act requires that Ministers are satisfied that there are compassionate grounds justifying the release of a person serving a sentence of imprisonment. Although the Act does not specify what the grounds for compassionate release are, guidance from the Scottish Prison Service, who assess applications, suggests that it may be considered where a prisoner is suffering from a terminal illness and death is likely to occur soon. There are no fixed time limits but life expectancy of less than three months may be considered an appropriate period. The guidance makes it clear that all prisoners, irrespective of sentence length, are eligible to be considered for compassionate release. That guidance dates from 2005.

On 24 July 2009 I received an application from Mr Al-Megrahi for compassionate release. He was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in September 2008. I have been regularly updated as to the progression of his illness. I have received numerous comprehensive medical reports including the opinions of consultants who have been treating him. It is quite clear to the medical experts that he has a terminal illness, and indeed that there has recently been a significant deterioration in his health.

In order to consider the application for compassionate release, I was provided with reports and recommendations by the Governor of Greenock Prison, the doctors and prison social work staff. Also, as laid out in statute, I have consulted the Parole Board. This is the normal process for consideration of an application for compassionate release and my decision is in accordance with all the advice given to me.

It is the opinion of his Scottish Prison Service doctors who have dealt with him prior to, during and following the diagnosis of prostate cancer, and having seen him during each of these stages, that his clinical condition has declined significantly. Assessment by a range of specialists has reached the firm consensus that his disease is, after several different trials of treatment, "hormone resistant" - that is resistant to any treatment options of known effectiveness. Consensus on prognosis therefore has moved to the lower end of expectations.

Mr Al-Megrahi was examined by Scottish Prison Service doctors on 3 August. A report dated 10 August from the Director of Health and Care for the Scottish Prison Service indicates that a 3 month prognosis is now a reasonable estimate. The advice they have provided is based not only on their own physical examination but draws on the opinion of other specialists and consultants who have been involved in his care and treatment. He may die sooner - he may live longer. I can only base my decision on the medical advice I have before me. That medical advice has been made available to the United States Government at their request and has been published on grounds of public interest.

It has been suggested that Mr Al-Megrahi could be released from prison to reside elsewhere in Scotland. Clear advice from senior police officers is that the security implications of such a move would be severe. I have therefore ruled that out as an option.


Having met the criteria, it therefore falls to me to decide whether Mr Al-Megrahi should be released on compassionate grounds. I am conscious that there are deeply held feelings, and that many will disagree whatever my decision. However a decision has to be made.

Scotland will forever remember the crime that has been perpetrated against our people and those from many other lands. The pain and suffering will remain forever. Some hurt can never heal. Some scars can never fade. Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive. Their pain runs deep and the wounds remain.

However, Mr Al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It is one that no court, in any jurisdiction, in any land, could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die.

In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people. The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.

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.

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

Our justice system demands that judgment be imposed but compassion be available. Our beliefs dictate that justice be served, but mercy be shown. Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs that we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people. No matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.

For these reasons - and these reasons alone - it is my decision that 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 allowed to return to Libya to die.


idle said...

Yes. I doubt this creep was solely responsible, anyway. Give him a one-way economy ticket on Camelshit Airways and let him pop his clogs in a bedsit in Tripoli, saving the (very few) taxpayers of Scotland the ridiculous expense of his incarceration.

caesars wife said...

save some money !

Edgar said...

Some sections of the press are howling about how such a decision should not be made by some unknown Scottish something-or-other in some department of this or that. This, they say, is a decision that should be made at the highest level, by which, I assume, they mean in Westminster.

My suspicions are that Jack Straw and cronies won't like the decision but are sweating buckets of relief that they didn't have to make it.

A feature of this case is that some of the papers, notable the Daily Mail, focus closely on the statistical fact that the prisoner has served only 2 weeks for each of the deaths. This compares to his sentence of 27 years for 270 deaths, which sentence amounts to about 5 weeks for each death. An inconvenient comparison for sensationalist button-pushers.

call me ishmael said...

Yes and I wonder if any part of skymadeupnewsandfilth will recall that Lieutenant William Calley served just three years for his mass murders at My Lai, how many weeks does that work out at - but then they were only slopes, not fit to lick a decent American's arse, lucky that a good wholesome American boy lowered himself to waste them.

Caractacus said...

Off topic:

My compliments to house chef Stanislav for his Rosemary infused olive oil recipe. Have just sampled the results of said olive oil with freshly baked bread smeared with a ripe tomato and it was very good.

Thank you.

call me ishmael said...

Self-serving, oleagenous and shockingly ill-written as it is, McCaskill's statement concludes, rightly, if hedgingly, that the quality of Mercy is not strained. From a government cowed and enchanted by Wealth and Power, ever eager for BigBoy status, name-dropping and hustling like a Groupies' Collective, this is a welcome display of boldness; Holyrood should now expedite a full public enquiry into the Lockerbie offence, before all the culprits pass beyond.

Oh Dear said...

"This is a global issue, and international in its nature. The questions to be asked and answered are beyond the jurisdiction of Scots law and the restricted remit of the Scottish Government. If a further inquiry were felt to be appropriate then it should be initiated by those with the required power and authority. The Scottish Government would be happy to fully co-operate in such an inquiry."

As I understand this para, he's saying they do not have the power to order a further enquiry.

What I find deeply suspicious in all this is why the appeal was dropped. Why would a man who has continually protested his innocence drop his appeal at this stage when he will be dead in a matter of months anyway? Was this a condition of his release, if so then the guff about compassion is meaningless.

mongoose said...

And wouldn't be interesting and did an Ernest Saunders?

call me ishmael said...

I refer the honourable exclamation to my earlier remark:

"Kenny McCaskill, MSP, is a mealymouthed, prevaricating Scotch lawyer, adept at the bullying bombast of his grubby trade."

It is hard to imagine the pressure on Mr al Megrahi, jailed in a foreigh land for a crime he and many of the most thoughtful of the bereaved insist was not at his hand, facing death, his family distant - which of us could resist pressure to drop an appeal, which would probably, in any event, die with us?

Scotland's Justice minister, all over the airwaves, has revealed his shallowness and his opportunism but if nothing else has defied the bloody hegemony of Uncle Sam and his stooges in Westminster - the airhead, Cameron, distinguishing himself with vapid soundbites, Straw and the rest conspicuously silent - and has done so for reasons which, on the face of it, all living in so-called enlightened liberal Western democracries should support, especially if we would condemn the excesses of the Sharia headchoppers stoners and floggers.

Kenny's decision, if his it was, is a mixed blessing but a blessing, in these dark times, nonetheless. We need only reflect on the likely, dark hobgoblin posturings of Blunkett, Reid, Schmidt and the rest of the lockers-up without trial, extraditers, renditionists, nothing to fear ID card merchants and torture wallahs to conclude, albeit wryly, that in this case the maxim rings true - Scotland, best part of England.

call me ishmael said...

He may well enjoy a reprieve, mr mongoose, these things do happen; hard to imagine anything more carcinogenic than prison, anything more uplifting and curative than release.

Mr TDG would dismiss as improbabale the co-operation of medics in the weaving of a false tapestry of terminal illness and so, probably, would I - but you never know, maybe that was a quid pro quo, an overstatement of imminence in exchange for appeal compliance, who knows ?

Kathleen Graham. MSP and Jim Swite seem the most lucid, consisitent and compelling of commenters on this matter;p the nice people at Google will lead those interested to their thoughts.

lilith said...

The Scots have a Justice Secretary called "Kenny"?

spark up said...


i pray to god that an american medic now chances upon a miracle cure for cancer and that mr al megrahi is the first human to benefit from its development. if the illness is in fact a charade, i hope that an american quack conjures up a life-saving placebo and that obama, clinton and co get their knickers in a complete twist over whether mr megrahi should be able to avail himself of the new wonder drug - which the paroled patient duly ingests prior to making an astonishing recovery. i also pray that obama visits lockerbie to pay his solemn respects, slips over and gets an insurgent thistle stuck right up his arsehole.


president b obombaklaart - the moral guardian of america said...


quite mr ishmael, 8 years? what a motherfucking mistake - i've already wiped out far more than 270 civilians in afghanistan and i've gone absolutely scot free! muahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

(ps: please excuse my language, i'm being an unbearably sanctimonious, affronted old obama today)

Anonymous said...

As much as it sickens me that the bastard was released i was totally pissed off to see the chief copper of some jock shithole shaking the murdering raghead's hand prior to him boarding the plane,pair off them should have been flown on a c130 and pushed out the frigging back from 30000Ft like the poor bastards on the pan am flight.

Dark Lochnagar said...

The Scottish Government was dammed whatever decision they made. I personally probably disagree, but I stand with my Government in their right to take the decision based on the fact that Lockerbie is in Scotland, Megrahi was tried under Scottish law and we have and always have had a different legal system from England.

call me ishmael said...

I can't agree with your sentiments, Mr anonymous Mick, because I think Mr al Megrahi is innocent, not because I'm an Arabist, or because I want him to be, it's just that I followed the trial - without jury - and it seemed like bollocks at the time, the Scottish Criminal Cases review people, an independent body, think something is fishy, the families of the British victims who have watched this all very closely are convinced Megrahi is innocent.

Anybody who was genuinely aggrieved on behalf of the victims - and it must have been, how shall we say, not the death any of us would have wished for - would surely want the right people to be caught and convicted, wouldn't they ? Or will any wog do ? They're all bastards, aren't they, ragheads ?

I am happy to argue it with you; this, after all, isn't a pizza parlour.

ps In my experience the cops always want to shake hands - on a no hard feelings, eh, just doing my job basis - with anyone leaving their custody. Alive, that is.

call me ishmael said...

As I said, Mr Dark Lochnager, a good day for Scotland, in a qualified sort of way; I agree with the decision but remain sceptical as to how it was arrived at. McCaskill, tongue-tied and on the back foot, might have mentioned that Scotland was the home, in these islands, of the Enlightenment, quite right that she now keeps Decency's flame at least a-flicker.

lilith said...

Last week I heard the parent of a victim expressing his fury at the quashing of the appeal. The families have been kept in the dark.

Cockney Jock said...

Mr Ishmael.
As you say,a good day for Scotland,in a Qualified sort of way. But what's good? The quality of Scottish compassion,or the marking of a line in the heather of no more English oppression? None of us will live long enough to know the truth of "Lockerbie",but what shows through MacAskills sermon was the large chip on his shoulder that many Scots still labour under. All empires,by definition, are evil. All politicians,by definition, are corrupt. Mr Salmond attempted to portray the decision as his(MacAskill),and his alone. All part of the game that the big boys play. The only losers are the victims and their grieving loved ones. They will probably never know any truth other than the thoughts of the poor bastards strapped in their seats in those final,horrific moments. SNP? We've got Gordon. Top that for a top tartan turn. As Doddy sang,"Tears for souvenirs" Because thats all the relatives are left with.

call me ishmael said...

Just, mr cockney jock, that for whatever reason - and those reasons will be a wilderness of mirrors that not even the protagonists will understand - wee jock has pissed on Uncle Sam's boots. That, after the Trump fiasco, is good eneough for me.

Inadvertently, of course, this sort of thing stirs up interest, among some, at any rate, in the actuality, not just of Lockerbie but of foreign policies, black ops, realpolitik and helps remove some of the gilding which politicians apply to their every action.

For the bereaved, some cold comfort may yet emerge from this; in today's skymadeupnewsandfilth's Times, Megrahi says he will shortly reveal what he knows. We must watch how it is reported - but in the meantime Uncle Sam's approach to his home-grown mass murderers is revealed a couple of posts down the line, What the Papers Say, the Daily Filth-o-Mail.

lilith said...

From today's Daily Doom

"Speaking on Libyan television, Colonel Gaddafi's son said Mr Blair raised the Megrahi case repeatedly to smooth the way for British firms to tap into Libya's energy reserves.

He told the Al Mutawassit channel: 'In all commercial contracts, for oil and gas with Britain, (Megrahi) was always on the negotiating table.'

Mr Gaddafi, who discussed the case with Business Secretary Lord Mandelson when they met in Corfu just weeks ago, hailed Megrahi's the release as a 'victory' for all Libyans."