MERCIFUL RELEASE ON TRIAL

By William Markiewicz

The accused in the Lockerbie bombing was released for reasons of mercy by a Scottish court, apparently in the tradition of Scottish justice. The expert doctor confirmed that he had only two months to live with prostate cancer. One year passed and he is alive in Libya. And the great part of public opinion and justice all over the world consider the judge and the doctor responsible for the fact that Al-Megrahi is still alive!

Actually, the merciful verdict by the Scottish court started a life and death lottery. No judge and no doctor can predict with exactitude when and if he will die. So accusations concerning Al-Megrahiís fate are in the category of absurdity. Like all lotteries, the results bring joy to the winner and deception to the losers but it was predictable in advance and should be accepted. The Obama administration wants him back in prison in Scotland. Of course they have no authority to tell Scottish courts how to proceed.

A second question widely discussed: Is he really guilty? A great part of opinion even in Scotland expresses doubt as apparently the conviction was on shaky grounds. If Al-Megrahi felt really innocent a good solution would be for him to return to Scotland on condition that the trial be reexamined. The problem is that Al-Megrahiís condition may not allow him such a risk. I donít know if his joyful return to freedom and to his country or some particularly good medical treatment in Libya gives him life but in my opinion, if Al-Megrahi returns to Scotland he will soon die. We will never know how guilty or innocent he is but we cannot blame him for choosing the safe option.

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