#AskFabiani – on the release of Megrahi

Question:

Why did the SNP not listen to the people when they released the Libyan terrorist , who may not have activated the bomb on Pan-Am, Flight 107, but was certainly involved?

Answer:

By casting doubt on Megrahi’s conviction, the very question recognises the complexity of this issue.

It is fundamental to Scots Law that people know the charges they face and have the right to be assumed innocent of these charges unless proven guilty. Megrahi was found guilty and was imprisoned, his co-accused was set free.

When Kenny MacAskill announced his decision, he accepted the finding of the court that Megrahi was guilty as charged.

However, he also accepted the medical advice; that Megrahi was suffering from terminal cancer, and it was a reasonable prognosis that he might soon be dead.

Nothing that has happened since has disproved either of these positions. If he is now being kept alive by the best medical care the Libyan state can buy, that does not undermine the prognosis.

What has come out since is that the very voices that were condemning Kenny MacAskill came from a party that was working behind the scenes to secure Megrahi’s release on the grounds of Britain’s – and BP’s in particular – commercial interests.

The people have certainly spoken since, like this relative of a Lockerbie victim:

“It’s disgusting, absolutely appalling. It looks as if the Labour government were acting as attorneys for the Libyans.”
US relative Stephanie Bernstein, who lost her husband in Pan Am Flight 103.

When we recall Iain Gray stating that if he was First Minister, Megrahi wouldn’t have been going back to Libya, we should remember two things:

1 At the time of Megrahi’s release, the Leader of the Labour Party in Scotland was not Iain Gray, it was the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. As today, it is Ed Milliband.

2 Iain Gray ran away from a handful of protestors, most of them elderly, in Central Station.

With Brown determined to get Megrahi out of the UK, the chances of Iain Gray stopping him would have been zero. His protestations of what he would have done are just not credible.

Megrahi certainly did not bring down Flight 103 on his own. But, if we accept that he is guilty, the man who may have ordered the atrocity was warmly embraced by Tony Blair, when Blair visited Libya last year to push forward, in the interests of his new employers, some of the lucrative investment opportunities that informed the Labour Government’s position.

Labour’s duplicity is on display for all to see. For Kenny MacAskill, he just had the difficult job of deciding whether to follow Scots Law, or not.

His decision, right or wrong, was honourable.

Linda Fabiani
April 2011

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