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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-No excuse releasing terrorist

Illustration by Daniel Worthington
Illustration by Daniel Worthington

Since when is it OK to give a convicted terrorist a “get out of jail free” card?

The Scots released Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270. He was released on humanitarian grounds Aug. 20.

Doctors advised the government that Megrahi had less than three months to live, due to terminal prostate cancer, fitting the criteria for early release according to Scottish law.

Was he not sentenced to life?

Life somehow became way too short for the families of the victims.

According to a BBC report, only 48 people were granted early release in England and Wales in the last five years, and only 23 people in Scottish prisons were released on medical grounds in the last nine years.

Seven prisoners were denied release in Scotland during that same time.

The government rarely uses this power, and Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill chose to use it unwisely.

The Scottish government should have known that Megrahi would enjoy a hero’s welcome in his Libyan homeland.

“The assurances were offered by the Libyans. These assurances were that the return would be low-key and sensitive, and we were appalled and thought the return to Libya was wrong,” said Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond in a BBC interview.

“I think when people offer assurances they should be taken and when they don’t keep these assurances, that’s not the fault of the Scottish government.”

With only three months to live, Megrahi admits no wrongdoing in the crime of which he was convicted.

“Many people, including the relatives of those who died in, and over, Lockerbie, are, I know, upset that my appeal has come to an end; that nothing more can be done about the circumstances surrounding the Lockerbie bombing,” he said in a statement.

“To those victims’ relatives who can bear to hear me say this: They continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss that they have suffered.”

Imagine how the victims’ families feel. The Scottish government promised them Megrahi would spend the rest of his life in confinement.

They were lied to.

The victims of Pam Am flight 103 were shown no mercy.

No compassion. No trial. No three-month notice. No chance to say goodbye to their families before experiencing a horrible, fiery death.

The satisfaction of knowing Megrahi’s last breath would be in a prison cell was stolen from the victims’ families by the Scottish government.

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