None dare call it justice


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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11 Responses

  1. Dan Summers says:

    The decision to free al-Megrahi is appalling, and the response to his arrival in Libya stomach-turning. I am in complete agreement with Freddie.

    The man was doomed to die sometime of something. I am baffled why the particulars of his imminent demise are such that freeing him makes any sense whatsoever.Report

  2. Lev says:

    First off, the SNP is one of the more vile political parties in Europe. This is the outfit that put party donation envelopes in funeral homes as a fundraising tactic, if I remember correctly. Doesn’t surprise me they’re behind this.

    And I agree with this sentiment completely. Life imprisonment now evidently means life, except when sick? I’d say that I’m more inclined to a less punitive and less aggressive way of fighting crime in general, as I think that (for example) three strikes laws that throw someone in jail for life because they stole some cigarettes serves nobody’s interest. But this is just a mockery of justice. None of the people on that plane flight can go home to their families, and neither can all the nonfamous people convicted of murder who have repented and come clean, neither of which this guy has done. If there were some questions about the prosecution, I agree with Will, reopen the investigation, but I think that going outside the channels of the justice system on a whim is just a bizarre tactic for something like this.

    If this is supposed to be some sort of geopolitical statement, I say we dig up Longshanks and let him loose in Scotland again. Ugh.Report

  3. scarn says:

    Is it common practice in Scotland or the UK to release prisoners who are terminally ill? Was this a one-off thing or is this normal policy?Report

    • Will in reply to scarn says:

      I believe it’s standard operating procedure to convene a review panel for terminally ill patients sentenced to life in prison. They don’t always recommend release, however.Report

  4. Sonny Bunch says:

    I’d be really interested to see what the numbers are on people who get convicted for “life” actually dying in prison. I’d be willing to bet, on nothing more than a hunch, that the number is below 25%.Report

    • Will in reply to Sonny Bunch says:

      Well, I think it’s important to distinguish between life sentences with the possibility of parole and life without parole. I’m not opposed to awarding prisoners parole per se; I just think that al-Megrahi’s crime is so heinous that he doesn’t deserve any similar considerations.Report

  5. Creon Critic says:

    Massie elaborates on his position in a subsequent post, and I tend to agree with him. Those commentators alleging that the SNP playing politics with this is a particularly unfair accusation. The pathway to Scottish independence, as I understand it, includes a referendum that will take place in the next 2-3 years – and the hope that if a Conservative government wins the next election, the SNP will make the argument the Westminster government is unrepresentative of Scotland as the nation elects painfully few Tory MPs. The SNP certainly did not need this as some sort of signal asserting Scottish independence.

    Massie writes,

    Each of these pundits seem to think that this was an easy decision; each of them assumes, with little evidence to support their presumptions, that the SNP ministry in Edinburgh cannot possibly have reached this decision in good faith…. And it is not as if Westminster politicians have always insisted that terrorists serve their entire sentence. You can argue, plausibly, that releasing convicted IRA and Loyalist terrorists was a necessary part of the Ulster “peace process” but it is not clear to me that releasing terrorists for the sake of a grubby, imperfect political deal must be less dishonourable than releasing a man on the compassionate grounds that he will be dead within a few weeks…. As I say, good people should be able to disagree in good faith on this issue. I hold no particular brief for the SNP, but while the affair might have been handled more cleanly, it is not obvious that they were out of their depth, not least because the advice they received came from the same people as would have been offering advice and guidance, regardless of the party in power at Holyrood or, for that matter, the existence of Holyrood itself.


  6. Lisa says:

    Even though he is dying,he should not be trusted and he should still be monitored.Report