Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Big Problem with Megrahi

Last August when the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill released Al Megrahi there was no denying that it split both politicians and the public alike. The one thing they may have been united on is that they are glad that they personally didn’t have to make the decision.

While personally I don’t agree with the decision. I think it’s really hard to justify letting someone who has been convicted of such a horrendous crime go home to their family. Where do you draw the line? I can also see the opposite point of view and understand why the decision was made even if I don’t agree.

The issue has been bubbling away quietly and I imagine that come August people would have been asking questions if Megrahi is still alive. However due to a multi billion pound oil company springing a leak in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico the issue has now erupted (excuse the pun).

The problem is that with such an emotive issue the facts are getting confused. People are talking about one thing when meaning other. Take the two different issues the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) and the release on compassionate ground. Two separate issues. The PTA was going through at UK level and BP has said that they did push for the PTA to go through quicker but they did not have anything to do with the release on compassionate grounds.

To me it has also exposed the lack of understanding of the Scottish/UK political/ judicial system by American Senators. Most people who understand the UK political system understand that a deal with BP would do nothing for the Scottish Government. Any money from oil goes to the UK Government. Also I just can’t see the Scottish Government which is SNP bowing down to any pressure from the UK Labour Government. I just don’t see it.

I could be wrong I guess, maybe the tide will turn and some evidence will show that there is some BP influence for now though I just don’t see it. I do believe that the conditions for his release were wrong and that the medical evidence was flawed. Under the terms for a release under compassionate grounds the prisoner should have less than three months to live. I think we can safely say on this part of the decision that mistakes have been made but I guess thats another issue.

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