Sympathy For The Devil

grydth

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The media has carried reports that Scotland is about to free the only individual convicted in the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie. This atrocity resulted in the murder of 270 people in the passenger jet and on the ground.

The individual, one former Libyan agent al-Megrahi, is said to have cancer and release is being contemplated on..... compassionate grounds.

Question: Why would one ever have 'compassion' for a cowardly mass murderer like this?

It is said he wants to go home to Libya in his final days. Yeah, well all of those innocent Syracuse University students he killed were just trying to get home, too.

The victims' families are sharply divided, with some advocating forgiveness and others retribution.

I say killers like this should go free when their victims are able to leave the cemetery and resume their lives - which would be never.

What do you think, and why?
 
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grydth

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If, indeed, al-Megrahi is innocent are we really better than his ilk?
We would have imprisoned an innocent man for the prime of his life on a charge that is more infamous than any other.

If he is being freed as a quid pro quo for dropping his second appeal - which theoretically could reveal the true killer(s) - - - are we compassionate or are we co-conspirators?
 

Tez3

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If, indeed, al-Megrahi is innocent are we really better than his ilk?
We would have imprisoned an innocent man for the prime of his life on a charge that is more infamous than any other.

If he is being freed as a quid pro quo for dropping his second appeal - which theoretically could reveal the true killer(s) - - - are we compassionate or are we co-conspirators?

If he is freed it will because he is in the last stages of terminal cancer, that's what the Scottish Justice minister is considering.
He was convicted on the evidence of a Maltese shop keeper,the evidence said he was guilty however no evidence has emerged to show he was innocent just many peoples belief including many of the Scottish victims families.
There's been no talk here of his being released in return for information on the 'true' killers nor for dropping the second appeal. The Scottish government is considering release only on the grounds of his terminal illness.
 

JDenver

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I think it would be odd to keep a deathly ill man in prison for the final few days of his life. What is accomplished? Seems brutish to me.
 

Tez3

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I think it would be odd to keep a deathly ill man in prison for the final few days of his life. What is accomplished? Seems brutish to me.

From what is being said here thats the only point being made, that he will be released, if he is, on compassionate grounds because as you said, to keep a dying man in prison would be brutish and as I said, it shows we are capable of compassion and humanity even if others aren't.
 

celtic_crippler

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Some might argue that being compassionate would be giving closure and justice to the 200+ families that lost loved ones because of what this murderer did by putting him down in the first place and not wasting resources to put him up, feed him, and provide medical care for this piece of crap. Then him having cancer would never have been an issue.
 

Tez3

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Some might argue that being compassionate would be giving closure and justice to the 200+ families that lost loved ones because of what this murderer did by putting him down in the first place and not wasting resources to put him up, feed him, and provide medical care for this piece of crap. Then him having cancer would never have been an issue.

It wouldn't because many of the families here believe he didn't do it. whether they are right or not I don't know but there never will be closure for them.
 

CoryKS

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I don't care where they put him, as long as he continues to die of cancer.
 

Tez3

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That's sad.

I know but I don't know what can be done to help them or give them some peace. As long as they believe the wrong person was convicted and he may well have been, it means that the real killers got off. I suppose we'll never know what deals were made by governments or what went on behind the scenes. I would be very hard to accuse the families of conspiracy theories but on balance I tend to think they are right.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1206716/New-cover-claims-Lockerbie-bomber-drops-appeal.html

The main story here is still that he is being released on compassionate grounds, I think most people whether they think he's innocent or not believe thats correct. I doubt there will be any discussions on anything other than this. As far as the Scottish government is concerned that's the end of the matter once he is either released or dies.
 
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grydth

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I would reiterate that were al-Megrahi to be innocent, he should be freed immediately regardless of his current health. But this would involve concepts of basic justice, not compassion.

The opinions you and JDenver have offered are certainly fair, and are well within the mainstream of current thought. But I would ask you consider these questions...

Are there crimes so heinous, such as mass murder, that fully justify "brutish" sanctions from the justice system?

If we don't really mean "life sentence", why continue to even sentence people to it?

Is it our compassion for monsters that makes us better.... or is it that we don't commit acts such as this as a matter of national policy....or that the Scottish Court sitting as an International Tribunal afforded the accused much fairer justice than would be received most anywheres else? (I mean, could anyone see the co-defendant being acquitted in Libya? Iran? Myanmar?).... or is it that the man was not savagely disfigured,maimed, disemboweled, beheaded and then left booby trapped for his confederates to find ?(You know, what is done to captured GI's).....so, is there seriously any question anyway of the superiority of the Scottish system?

What of when people are let free out of a sense of compassion... and they commit more and worse offenses ? (happens in the USA all the time) How would one convince the additional victims of the fairness of it all?
 

Tez3

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The Scottish justice system is different, I doubt it's superior, but it's certainly different. The verdict most expected was that of 'not proven' there was great surprise when it was a guilty verdict. The Scottish courts have three verdicts avaiable to them and a confession isn't acceptable unless accapanied by colloborating proof. there is a general feeling that governments set the defendant up as well as the court.
I think on the whole that the compassion felt for this man is not that for a monster but for a man who has been used by his government as well as ours as a scapegoat, the fall guy. I'm sure that if the families felt that the proof of his guilt was beyond question they would have no compassion for him.
Your other questions I think are another discussion altogether and something I don't feel able to answer at half two in the morning I'm afraid. I will however try later.
 
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grydth

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From what I have read, some families have zero compassion for this individual and adamantly resent his possible release. Other families actually appear to have forgiven him and are okay with the release.

Whatever our flaws, I'd take my chances in a US or UK court anytime over what they have where this character came from.

I am sure the questions of who else was involved in this act of terror will continue long after I have departed for the Infernal Regions.
 

CoryKS

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And if he's innocent?

I wasn't aware that there was an ongoing investigation into this case. Or do you suppose he'll use whatever time he has left to hunt for the real killer, a la OJ Simpson?
 
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grydth

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This is an excellent article, for which you deserve thanks. Yet, it does highlight that this act by the government will be viewed as conspiracy rather than compassion.

It also illustrates my concern that, when we sentence somebody to a term of 27 years to life, we do not really mean it. I do not think this practice makes us better than our enemies, who often view it as a weakness.
 

geezer

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Whatever our flaws, I'd take my chances in a US or UK court anytime over what they have where this character came from.

Me too.

Interestingly, we in the US didn't give the Giitmo detainees access to our courts... at least under the Bush administration. Things appear to be changing now. And, as in this case, there is legitimate doubt over the guilt of some of the detainees.

In all these cases, it seems that "justice" is only one of many concerns. Intelligence gathering, fear for our safety, desire for retribution, concepts of closure, rehabilitation, redemption, and also, "PR" concerns or political propaganda and partisan politics all factor in at different levels.
 

Joab

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It's the justice vs. mercy debate. Certainly it is true that this fellow deserves death for his heinious mass murder, justice would have allowed that. But he wasn't given the death penalty, instead life in prison, which is to be commuted for humanitarian reasons. Mercy would say say that while he doesn't deserve to be set free, due to his cancer, this unmerited act of compassion would allow him to live his last days out of prison. It's difficult, I'd have to pray about this before coming up with a decision.
 

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