The release from Greenock prison of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people, has provoked a storm of political protest. US president Barak Obama called the decision a “mistake”, the Director of the FBI Robert Mueller accused the SNP’s Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill of giving “comfort to terrorists”, and some Republican senators in the US have called for an economic boycott of Scotland in protest.
Given the horrors that the families of those killed have suffered there has been understandable, widespread anger and opposition to the release of Megrahi, especially among the US families of those who died.
The recent debate in the Scottish parliament saw leaders of all the main opposition parties attack the minority SNP government and MacAskill for allowing the terminally ill Megrahi to leave Scotland on compassionate grounds for Libya after spending eight years in prison. A vote of the Scottish parliament on the issue is likely next week. Megrahi was welcomed back to Libya by the Libyan leader, Colonel Gadaffi. In Libya Megrahi is widely seen as having been a victim of a miscarriage of justice. Gordon Brown has so far refused to make any comment on the decision to release Megrahi
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