The end of the road

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megraghi  boards an aircaft at Glasgow airport to take him back to his home in Libya.
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megraghi boards an aircaft at Glasgow airport to take him back to his home in Libya.

WITH the death of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi earlier in the week, East Renfrewshire council has finally relinquished its role of supervising the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

ERC had been charged with monitoring al-Megrahi’s health situation since he was released from Greenock prison on compassionate grounds was given the go-ahead by the Scottish government.

Megrahi – the only man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 on December 21 1988 – was released after he was given three months to live following a diagnosis of terminal prostate cancer.

A council spokesman said: “Since his release from prison, our criminal justice service has monitored Mr Megrahi based on the licence conditions issued at that time.

“Despite the unprecedented situation and international attention focussed on this case, they have maintained that professional role diligently throughout the years, even during a civil war in Libya.

“With confirmation of his death, the monitoring role of our criminal justice service in this case ceases”.

The conviction of al-Megrahi has caused ructions since it was announced following the special trial set up at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands with many people claiming the conviction to be a travesty.

Likewise, his compassionate release caused much anger – particularly among the relatives of the American victims.

Many believed that al-Megrahi should have died in prison, and prime minister David Cameron has also indicated he shouldn’t have been released.

The Scottish government, though, have staunchly stood by its decision and has cited its reasons were based entirely on Scots law.

Over what many criticised as a too early release, first minister Alex Salmond said: “Extensive scrutiny under three jurisdictions supported the position that the justice secretary released Mr Megrahi on compassionate grounds and compassionate grounds alone”.

The government has also left the door open for fresh appeals against the conviction.

Mr Salmond added: “It is open for relatives of Mr Megrahi to apply to the Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission to seek a further appeal.

“And the best, indeed the only, place for guilt innocence to be determined is in a court of law”.