When Scotland released Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, the man in prison for the murder of over 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, they claimed he was just weeks away from dying and that his release showed the West’s “compassionate” values. The government promised to keep close tabs on Megrahi, a task that fell to the East Renfrewshire Council, which claimed that they could keep track of Megrahi and that the terrorist would never leave the Tripoli hospital.
Guess who’s on walkabout today?
Mystery surrounded the Lockerbie bomber last night after he could not be reached at his home or in hospital.
Libyan officials could say nothing about the whereabouts of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, and his Scottish monitors could not contact him by telephone. They will try again to speak to him today but if they fail to reach him, the Scottish government could face a new crisis.
Under the terms of his release from jail, the bomber cannot change his address or leave Tripoli, and must keep in regular communication with East Renfrewshire Council.
Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic and relatives of the 270 people who died in the 1988 bombing expressed anger about al-Megrahi’s disappearance. Richard Baker, Labour’s justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament, said the whole affair was turning into a shambles and putting Scotland’s reputation at risk. “This flags up just how ludicrous it is that East Renfrewshire Council, a local council thousands of miles away from Libya, is responsible for supervising al-Megrahi’s conditions of licence,” he said.
How has the East Renfrewshire Council kept tabs on Megrahi? They have called every other Tuesday to make sure he’s in Tripoli, a schedule that Megrahi easily used. The Times of London decided to do its own checking and called the hospital itself over the weekend. They were told that Megrahi had checked out some time ago. When the Times attempted to call Megrahi at home, they were told he was gone. The council then attempted to call yesterday, on a Tuesday when Megrahi would not be expecting a call, and couldn’t reach him.
Who in their right mind would call that a security protocol? Scotland apparently didn’t demand any observers in Libya, a situation that will once again call into question the UK’s motives in releasing Megrahi. They wanted the oil contracts with Libya so badly that they apparently sold out the victims of Pan Am 103 and Lockerbie to get them. The “oversight” promised by the UK on Megrahi has been exposed as a sham by the Times.
So where is Megrahi? He may have gone somewhere else to die quietly. However, it’s a lot more likely that he’s gone somewhere else to laugh at the credulity of the West in setting free one of the worst terrorists we managed to capture. (via Sweetness & Light)