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Lockerbie justice?
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:16 am    Post subject: Lockerbie justice? Reply with quote

Quote:
US President Barack Obama has urged Libya not to give a hero's welcome to the convicted perpetrator of the Pan Am 103 bombing, who was released from a Scottish prison on Thursday over US objections.

Hours later Abdel Baset al-Megrahi arrived in Tripoli to a festive greeting by thousands.

Obama said his administration conveyed its objections to the Scots, who announced that Megrahi was released because he is terminally ill and should be permitted to die in his home country. Megrahi was convicted for the December 21, 1988 bombing over Lockerbie that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

"We have been in contact with the Scottish government indicating that we objected to this," Obama said in an interview from the White House with radio talk show host Michael Smerconish.

"And we thought it was a mistake," Obama added. "We're now in contact with the Libyan government," he said shortly before Megrahi landed in Tripoli. Obama said the Libyan should not be "welcomed in some way but instead should be under house arrest".

Megrahi, 57, left Scotland's Greenock Prison and arrived in the Libyan capital aboard an Airbus jet.

Thousands of Libyans wore T-shirts with Megrahi's picture and others waved Libyan and Scottish flags while Libyan songs blared.

Many Libyans see Megrahi as an innocent scapegoat of the West. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called him a mass murderer.

This new source of potential tension between Washington and Tripoli comes amid a turnaround in official relations.

The North African country, the target of US airstrikes in 1986, has been on speaking terms with the United States only recently after four decades as a bitter antagonist. A rapprochement began in 2003 when Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi renounced terrorism and nuclear weapons.

The United States went decades without an ambassador in Tripoli. Last summer, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice made a historic trip to Libya and met Gaddafi, whom President Reagan once famously called the "mad dog of the Middle East". Rice was the highest-ranking US official to visit the country in more than half a century. The US then opened a trade and commercial office in the Libyan capital and the Bush administration installed Gene Cretz as the first US ambassador to Tripoli since 1972.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said Scottish authorities had placed "some conditions" on Megrahi's return to Libya but Crowley did not elaborate.

"We certainly believe that as a convicted criminal, he is not entitled to a hero's welcome," the spokesman added.

The US Embassy in Tripoli issued a message to Americans in Libya urging that they avoid large crowds in the capital.

"Reliable reports also indicate that a large youth rally is planned for Algiers Square and Green Square in downtown Tripoli the evening of August 20," the embassy notice said. "All American citizens are advised to postpone non-essential travel near downtown Tripoli the evening of August 20, and to avoid other demonstrations and large crowds August 20-21."

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the order to release Megrahi was due to the convicted bomber's deteriorating health. He has prostate cancer and is not expected to live much longer.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a statement saying she was "deeply disappointed" by the Scottish authorities' decision. Megrahi had served eight years of a life sentence in Scotland.

"We have continued to communicate our long-standing position to UK government officials and Scottish authorities that al-Megrahi should serve out the entirety of his sentence in Scotland," Clinton said.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said Megrahi's guilt had been firmly established by the court that convicted him.

"He never admitted to his role in this act of terrorism, nor did he or the government of Libya disclose the names or roles of others who were responsible," Mueller said. "In a case of mass murder over Lockerbie, Mr Megrahi served less than 14 days per victim."

Crowley told reporters that the administration was monitoring Megrahi's reception in Libya and that it may affect US-Libyan relations.


If Obama sanctioned a team (and this would apply equally to a Bush administration) to go to Tripoli and pick off this b#stard, you'd hear no complaints from me!
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree completely...hell, I'd be willing to help pay for plane tickets for these agents of karmic enforcement, to use a Dennis Miller term
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, a chance for unanimity in the Tank at last (I hope). I agree with Obama 100% on this. It's a disgrace that this mass murderer is being released and celebrated as a hero. I don't know if he's physically able--I hear he's dying--but I hope he doesn't choose to use his last days to commit some other atrocity.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wondered if we'd get a topic on this. Very Happy

Quote:
On 28 June 2007 the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission announced its decision to refer Megrahi's case to the High Court for a second appeal against conviction.

The SCCRC's decision was based on facts set out in an 800-page report that determined that "a miscarriage of justice may have occurred".

Köchler criticised the SCCRC for exonerating police, prosecutors and forensic staff from blame in respect of Megrahi's alleged wrongful conviction. He told The Herald of 29 June 2007: "No officials to be blamed, simply a Maltese shopkeeper." (The key prosecution witness who testified that it was Megrahi who had bought clothes believed to have been in the suitcase with the bomb. Eyewitness identification, 12 years after the fact.)

Köchler also highlighted the role of intelligence services in the trial and stated that proper judicial proceedings could not be conducted under conditions in which extrajudicial forces are allowed to intervene.


Emphasis and parentheses mine.

*shrug* If he was guilty, (which he always denied), then I'm opposed to it. And I'm especially opposed to the message his welcome sends. If he is guilty.

But it seems there may be some doubt in the matter. Indeed, he dropped the (granted) appeal request shortly before he was permitted compassionate release. Allegedly under pressure as a condition of said release.

--A
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might be in a position to make a comment on this.

As some of you may (or may not) know, I work for the Scottish Prison Service, and, rightly or wrongly, anyone who is diagnosed with a terminal illness gets released on compassionate grounds before their death.

Whilst this will be devastating for the victims of the Lockerbie disaster, playing Devils advocate, how would you feel if a relative of yours had been incarcerated and was subsequently diagnosed with a terminal illness?

I would prefer for that relative to die with dignity, even though their victims had none.That's what family means in these cases.

The thing that sticks in my throat is the manner in which "the Lockerbie bomber" was heralded as a hero on his return home.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post Phantasm. And yes, I agree...if he was guilty, the welcome was beyond tasteless.

--A
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Scots should've loaded the fellow onto a plane, flew it at the proper elevation above Tripoli, and push him out of the plane sans parachute.

Then they could wire Khadafi (sp? meh who cares? lol) a message to the tune of 'You said you wouldn't give us the good oil prices unless we released this fellow. Well we released him, hope he didn't make to much of a mess upon his arrival in Libya. XOXOXO'

But then again, common denominator for politicians out of any country... seems to be that they all lack spines. So I'll just have to pretend that the two paragraphs above all took place, eventhough they didn't.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody think that the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission believes the trial and sentencing may have been a miscarriage of justice has any significance?

--A
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

High-profile international law and terrorism cases almost always involve mistrial. Saddam Hussein was also probably a victim of mistrial. That doesn't mean he wasn't guilty, nor does it mean that the Lockerbie bomber should have been released. I'm about as far from a hawk as you can get, and I honestly see no convincing reason for releasing this guy. Incidentally, mistrial wasn't the reason for his release, Av; by the admission of the Scottish, it was "compassion" for his terminal illness.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not mistrial. A miscarriage of justice. (And yes, he was released under compassionate grounds. After dropping his appeal based on subsequent findings that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.)

Don't get me wrong...if he was guilty, he should suffer the consequences. If he wasn't...

And it seems that the Commission believed it had adequate grounds to question his verdict. Which was largely based on the eyewitness testimony of a shopkeeper, that the accused had purchased certain items on a specific day. And we all know that eyewitness identification is a chancy thing at best.

And apparently evidence later revealed that the vital eyewitness had been contaminated by seeing a photo of the accused, in the context of the bombing, before he identified him in a lineup.

Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission Press Release (.PDF)

Quote:
3.5 The evidence relied upon by the trial court to convict the applicant was as follows:

• Anthony Gauci’s evidence that the purchaser of the items resembled the applicant “a lot”.

• Evidence from various sources that Mr Gauci sold the items on 7 December 1988, a date on which the applicant was proved to be in Malta staying in a hotel close to Mary’s House.

• Evidence that on 20-21 December 1988 the applicant was in Malta travelling on a “coded” passport (i.e. a passport in a false name issued by the Libyan passport authority); and that on 21 December 1988 he was at Luqa airport at a time when baggage for flight KM180 was being
checked in.

• Evidence that in 1985 the applicant was a member of the Libyan intelligence service (“JSO”, later named “ESO”) and until January 1987 was head of the airline security section of that organisation.

• Evidence of the applicant’s association with Mr Bollier and with various members of the JSO and Libyan military who purchased MST-13 timers from him.

5.1 The following is a brief summary of some of the Commission’s main findings on the grounds of review which formed the basis of the grounds of referral:

• A number of the submissions made on behalf of the applicant challenged the reasonableness of the trial court’s verdict, based on the legal test contained in section 106(3)(b) of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.

The Commission rejected the vast majority of those submissions. However, in examining one of the grounds, the Commission formed the view that there is no reasonable basis in the trial court’s judgment for its conclusion that the purchase of the items from Mary’s House, took place on 7 December 1988. Although it was proved that the applicant was in Malta on several occasions in December 1988, in terms of the evidence 7 December was the only date on which he would have had the opportunity to purchase the items. The finding as to the date of purchase was therefore important to the trial court’s conclusion that the applicant was the purchaser.

Likewise, the trial court’s conclusion that the applicant was the purchaser was important to the verdict against him. Because of these factors the Commission has reached the view that the requirements of the legal test may be satisfied in the applicant’s case.

• New evidence not heard at the trial concerned the date on which the Christmas lights were illuminated in the area of Sliema in which Mary’s House is situated. In the Commission’s view, taken together with Mr Gauci’s evidence at trial and the contents of his police statements, this additional evidence indicates that the purchase of the items took place prior to 6 December 1988. In other words, it indicates that the purchase took place at a time when there was no evidence at trial that the applicant was in Malta.

• Additional evidence, not made available to the defence, which indicates that four days prior to the identification parade at which Mr Gauci picked out the applicant, he saw a photograph of the applicant in a magazine article linking him to the bombing. In the Commission’s view evidence of Mr Gauci’s exposure to this photograph in such close
proximity to the parade undermines the reliability of his identification of the applicant at that time and at the trial itself.

• Other evidence, not made available to the defence, which the Commission believes may further undermine Mr Gauci’s identification of the applicant as the purchaser and the trial court’s finding as to the date of purchase.


Now originally, it was more likely he was going to be sent home on a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) to serve out the remainder of his life in Libya. According to one article,

Quote:
Under the conditions of the PTA, signed by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, before he can return home, Al-Megrahi must first drop his appeal in a Scottish High Court, which he has now instructed his legal team to do...

...Some of those close to him, who believe in his innocence, including the Scottish Member of Parliament Christine Grahame, say he has been pressured to abort the appeals process. A former Lockerbie parish priest Canon Patrick Keegans suggests a more sinister slant. He suspects the British authorities are eager to “get Mr. Megrahi out of the country and to have the appeal halted at all costs, for fear of what might be revealed.”

He may have a point as Ms. Grahame reveals there are 600 pages of evidence from the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission that bolster Al-Megrahi’s case. She is disappointed that with the abandonment of the appeals process this evidence may never see the light of day, and calls for a full public inquiry....


And in this one,

Quote:
Both British and American officials originally claimed that Iran commissioned the attack on the Pan Am flight using the Palestinian guerrilla group PFLP (GC), based in Damascus, in retaliation for the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by the US. That changed, however, after the first Gulf War when Syria joined the US sponsored coalition against Saddam Hussein and the same officials now held that Libya was the culprit state....

...Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was one of those killed, said after the trial into the bombing "I went into that court thinking I was going to see the trial of those who were responsible for the murder of my daughter. I came out thinking he had been framed. I am very afraid that we saw steps taken to ensure that a politically desired result was obtained.”

Last October Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission identified six grounds where it believed " a miscarriage of justice may have occurred" at the original trial into the Lockerbie bombing, at Camp Zeist, in Holland, six years ago.


--A
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Nobody think that the fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission believes the trial and sentencing may have been a miscarriage of justice has any significance?

--A


Did they give any reason as to why it was a miscarriage?

Or was it the usual defense lawyer song and dance about a jury of sympathetic peers being necessary, rather than simply a jury of peers that's required for a fair trial?

Sorry, the number of times that such lawyers imagine an excuse to call something a miscarriage of justice has rendered such opinions to lack credibility without specifics being mentioned.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing to do with lawyers, except for their presenting the report. The Commission is a publicly appointed body consisting of a staff and a board of members appointed by the Queen on recommendation by the first Minister.

They are only a review commission.

And some of the reasons they felt the case merited a review are explained in the post above yours.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reports that he's on his deathbed in todays newspapers. (For what it's worth, I agree with the decision to release him.)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw that. Admitted to hospital, pic of him wearing oxygen mask etc.

(Good to see you around WarMark. Very Happy )

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sky News reporting that he's popped his cloggs.

news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Reports-Lockerbie-Bomber-Al-Megrahi-Has-Died-Sky-Sources/Article/200910315410685?lpos=World_News_Carousel_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_15410685_Reports_Lockerbie_Bomber_Al-Megrahi_Has_Died%2C_Sky_Sources
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the update WarMark. At least the compassionate grounds were justified.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh no he isn't!

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1221990/Lawyer-denies-Lockerbie-bomber-Abdelbaset-Al-Megrahi-died.html
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well he should be. ^^
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Thanks for the update WarMark. At least the compassionate grounds were justified.

--A


No it wasn't. Life must mean life. If this person actually committed the crime he was accused of (and I have no reason yet to believe that he wasn't the one), then he should not have left prison except in a coffin. His lack of compassion for those on the aircraft far outweighs any compassion on my part that the poor F***k is dying. Evil or Very Mad
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rawedge Rim wrote:
Avatar wrote:
Thanks for the update WarMark. At least the compassionate grounds were justified.

--A


No it wasn't. Life must mean life.


But it doesn't in Scottish judicial circles. I honestly can't belive Obama and the Head of the FBI were condemning Kenny Mcaskill. Its absolutlely none of their business when/if we release prisoners here.
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