Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi inflicted real and lasting damage on Britain. He was found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing in which 270 Pan Am passengers were killed. But what happened after he was sentenced to prison increases the wound on the country. Inexplicably, the Labour government of Gordon Brown was afraid that Megrahi might one day die in prison, although that is supposed to be the fate of those serving long terms for murder. They tried to return him to his native Libya under a prisoner-transfer agreement. That did not work out. When Megrahi was diagnosed with a cancer that might kill him within three months, a government minister saw his chance and wrote to his Libyan counterpart advising him that this cancer diagnosis could secure Megrahi’s release from prison on compassionate grounds. And so it happened. Think of it: A British minister was helping to find a way round British justice. Now, a year and a half after his release, Megrahi is alive, and by all reports doing fine. In other words, the public and specially the families of the Lockerbie victims, have been manipulated and cheated and lied to.
David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister, says that the release of Megrahi was “profoundly wrong.” It may be that the papers relevant to this fiasco will be published. Apparently Brown and others really were afraid of what Libya might do, in other words anticipating the usual irrational behavior on the part of the preposterous Muammar Gaddhafi, and they’d lose oil business. Money is shown to have mattered above all else. Yesterday Parliament debated this miserable story. Brown did not attend, nor did his then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. To have been kissing Gaddhafi’s sandals is about as far as national humiliation can go. And more than that — Eurabia looms.