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Love2Raid
20-08-09, 13:53
The Scottish Government has just announced that the 'Lockerbie Bomber', who was sentenced for life for the attack on Pan Am 103, which has led to the death of 270 people, will be released on 'compassionate grounds'. He is suffering from cancer in a terminal stage and he will be given the chance to die in his home country, with his family.


Lockerbie bomber's release agreed

The Lockerbie bomber is to be released on compassionate grounds, the Scottish Government has announced.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, was jailed in 2001 for the atrocity which claimed 270 lives in 1988.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill revealed that the Libyan, who has terminal prostate cancer, would be allowed to return to his homeland.

The US government said it "deeply regretted" the Scottish Government's decision to release Megrahi.

A police convoy arrived at Greenock Prison, where Megrahi is serving his sentence, to collect him, about an hour after the announcement of his release was made.

The BBC understands he will be flown to Tripoli on a specially chartered plane due to leave Glasgow.

The government said it had consulted widely before Mr MacAskill made his decision on applications for Megrahi's compassionate release or his transfer to a Libyan jail.

He told a media conference on Thursday that he had rejected the application for a prisoner transfer.

However, after taking medical advice it was expected that three months was a "reasonable estimate" of the time Megrahi had left to live.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announces the Lockerbie bomber's release

He ruled out the option of the Libyan being allowed to live in Scotland on security grounds.

And he stressed that he accepted the conviction and sentence which had been handed to Megrahi.

However, Mr Macaskill said Scots defined themselves by their humanity.

"Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.''

"But that alone is not a reason for us to deny compassion to him and his family in his final days."


Full article and background here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/south_of_scotland/8197370.stm

Do you think they have made the right decision or should they have let him rot in prison 'till his death? (He has about 3 months left to live.)

I personally feel they are being too kind. :o

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 13:59
Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. He didn't show compassion to the hundreds of people he murdered so why should any compassion be showed to him. I bet the families of the victims are absolutely livid, and rightly so. First Ronnie Biggs (one of the great train robbers) and now this. Justice has not been done.

Dennis's Mom
20-08-09, 14:06
Well, there's two things at play.

One is punishment. He is being punished for a heinous crime, therefore he forfeits the right to among loved ones. Should have thought of that before you killed 270 people, dude.

The second is about the "punisher." What does it say about the punisher (i.e., Scotland) to insist on a dying man's incarceration? What purpose does it serve? Is it punishment or revenge?

They've chosen compassion, I can't fault them for it, although I didn't have any family members on board that plane. I'd probably be ****ed as all get out that he gets to die among family while my family was blown apart above Scotland.

Cochrane
20-08-09, 14:54
I don't see how keeping him three months longer in prison would truly help anyone. Personally, I very much believe in the line of thought that says "We are better than those who commit such crimes, and we show this by showing them mercy".

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 15:04
I don't see how keeping him three months longer in prison would truly help anyone. Personally, I very much believe in the line of thought that says "We are better than those who commit such crimes, and we show this by showing them mercy".Yeah but he was sentenced to a jail sentence for the crime he committed. He shouldn't get let out early just because he has cancer.

Cochrane
20-08-09, 15:26
Yeah but he was sentenced to a jail sentence for the crime he committed. He shouldn't get let out early just because he has cancer.

Well, that depends, doesn't it? If scottish prisoners have a certain right to expect to be released on such grounds, then there should be no exception for him. Even if it is just a voluntary move of the scottish executive (I'm not sure whether it is), he should have the same chance of getting such a release as any other prisoner.

irjudd
20-08-09, 15:38
I'd say this statement summed up my immediate thoughts on the subject: "Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.''

It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me to set him free to die. Seems like it's undermining what a "life" sentence means.

Lemmie
20-08-09, 15:46
I'm unsure of how to react. I won't go to the extreme of saying that I am ashamed to be Scottish as a result of this, as a comment on the BBC page says, but I feel that Megrahi should have served the full sentence for his crime, cancer or not. I understand the motive and the intention behind it, but I think it is absolutely unwarranted.

However I am unfamiliar with the bombing and the case, although I understand that the question of Megrahi's incarceration has been ongoing in recent years. Thinking about this at first I thought I would be more sympathetic to the cause of allowing him to go home to die amongst his family. Now I don't think I am.

However, what's done is done.

Trigger_happy
20-08-09, 15:50
Life should mean life. Just because he's ill, it doesn't make him better and more privileged then the people he killed. He should die in jail.

disneyprincess20
20-08-09, 15:52
I think it would have been a bit much for him to continue receiving treatment at the Scottish governments expense, but flying him home in a specially chartered plane was too much. I think he should have had to make his own way home.

It also really jars that he only dropped the appeal so he could be sent home. I don't know why, but something feels wrong about that.

Love2Raid
20-08-09, 16:00
I'd say this statement summed up my immediate thoughts on the subject: "Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.''

It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me to set him free to die. Seems like it's undermining what a "life" sentence means.

I agree with you.

I think the most important factor here lies in the feelings of the victims' families. Most of them will feel devastated and betrayed by this. He got sentenced for life, because he took an innocent life 270 times, and it doesn't seem fair to release him any sooner than the end of his life.

To him it won't matter much. He spent the majority of his life in jail and won't 'enjoy' his life in freedom very long.

robm_2007
20-08-09, 16:09
thats stupid. keep his dumbass in jail to suffer. his victims werent shown any compassion.

Geck-o-Lizard
20-08-09, 16:15
I am glad our justice system is not ruled by vengeance.

Catapharact
20-08-09, 16:21
I am glad our justice system is not ruled by vengeance.

Well I would say its a big Middle Finger to all the victim's loved ones. This statement sums it up best:

"Mr al-Megrahi did not show his victims any comfort or compassion. They were not allowed to return to the bosom of their families to see out their lives, let alone their dying days. No compassion was shown by him to them.''

Furthermore, keep in mind that the Libyans aren't exactly gonna let this guy run free. He'll most likey be detained on sight when he arrives at home.

Lemmie
20-08-09, 16:23
Furthermore, keep in mind that the Algerians aren't exactly gonna let this guy run free. He'll most likey be detained on sight when he arrives at home.

He's going home to Libya isn't he?

But I don't know if it makes a difference.

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 16:25
I am glad our justice system is not ruled by vengeance.Shame it failed to deliver justice, which is exactly what it's supposed to do. Furthermore, the argument for keeping him in prison has nothing to do with vengeance anyway.

He committed a crime. He murdered hundreds of people, and he got a life sentence for it. Why should he be let out of jail early just because of his cancer? I can't believe some people actually agree with letting him our early. It defies logic.

SamReeves
20-08-09, 16:26
Hang the douchebag or get the electric chair out.

Catapharact
20-08-09, 16:29
He's going home to Libya isn't he?

But I don't know if it makes a difference.

Apologies. I ment to say Libyans. Either way they are not gonna let a security threat run free in their country. Knowing the Libyans, I would say that this guy is gonna be in a deep dung situation.

Lemmie
20-08-09, 16:30
Apologies. I ment to say Libyans. Either way they are not gonna let a security threat run free in their country. Knowing the Libyans, I would say that this guy is gonna be in a deep dung situation.

I guess we'll have to wait and see. If so, it might have been more compassionate to let him serve out his sentence in Scotland.

Titanium
20-08-09, 16:31
He deserves no compassion at all, its ridiculous to let him free.

Cochrane
20-08-09, 16:33
I think the most important factor here lies in the feelings of the victims' families. Most of them will feel devastated and betrayed by this. He got sentenced for life, because he took an innocent life 270 times, and it doesn't seem fair to release him any sooner than the end of his life.
No punishment for him can ever restore those 270 people back to life. Anyway, why should we allow the feelings of the victims’ families to matter at all in this debate? I am fairly certain that they have some bias against him, and no matter what else you think true justice is, it is always about balance and neutrality.

To him it won't matter much. He spent the majority of his life in jail and won't 'enjoy' his life in freedom very long.
Exactly, and my conclusion from that is that his freedom does not do any harm. There is too few additional justice (on whatever scale that is measured) to be gained from having him die in prison to make it worthwhile, or at least the scottish executive thought so and I see no reason to disrespect that.

irjudd
20-08-09, 16:50
At the very least, this should have been included in his sentencing so that it wouldn't be such a surprise.

"You are hereby sentenced to life in prison without parole, unless you get terminally ill in the future upon whence you will be set free and pardoned."

Or was that mentioned in his sentencing? I'm far too lazy to look up something so old.

Lemmie
20-08-09, 16:52
At the very least, this should have been included in his sentencing so that it wouldn't be such a surprise.

"You are hereby sentenced to life in prison without parole, unless you get terminally ill in the future upon whence you will be set free and pardoned."

Or was that mentioned in his sentencing? I'm far too lazy to look up something so old.

Well, he hasn't been pardoned. But I doubt that any such provision was made when he was sentenced.

I would think that was a little unusual in a terrorism case.

Dennis's Mom
20-08-09, 16:59
I don't know if anyone else read the excerpt from John Water's new book about Leslie Van Houten. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-waters/leslie-van-houten-a-frien_b_246953.html) It's an interesting read, and deals with similar issues about how much punishment is enough, can it simply become revenge at some point.

Cochrane
20-08-09, 17:37
At the very least, this should have been included in his sentencing so that it wouldn't be such a surprise.

"You are hereby sentenced to life in prison without parole, unless you get terminally ill in the future upon whence you will be set free and pardoned."

Or was that mentioned in his sentencing? I'm far too lazy to look up something so old.

I would guess that this a provision like that applies to every scottish prisoner, either through a law or by being a habit kept so long that denying it to someone would be a violation of due process. I would imagine that they would not have released him otherwise.

jackles
20-08-09, 17:42
Cochrane I was just reading something similar to what you said, that compassion is part of the laws of Scotland and therefore has to be upheld no matter who the prisoner is. It has to be one rule for all with no exceptions so that it is fair and just.

irjudd
20-08-09, 17:43
Although recently the same thing basically took place in the case of Ronnie Biggs. (http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/07/uk.biggs.release/)

I thought it was a strange thing to do in his case, too.

jackles
20-08-09, 17:48
When these laws were concieved I guess people would never have envisigned the possibilty of such large scale murders etc. It isn't just that the scots have thought 'oh well..lets let him go now' it is virtually a legal requirement.

irjudd
20-08-09, 17:50
Well if it's law, it's law. There's really no point in having an opinion about it then. :p

Lemmie
20-08-09, 17:52
Cochrane I was just reading something similar to what you said, that compassion is part of the laws of Scotland and therefore has to be upheld no matter who the prisoner is. It has to be one rule for all with no exceptions so that it is fair and just.

Could you give us a link to it? I'd like to look at that. :)

Cochrane
20-08-09, 18:04
Well if it's law, it's law. There's really no point in having an opinion about it then. :p
Well, as long as we have the option to change the laws (or elect someone who will change them for us), I think it is very pointed indeed to discuss it. :D

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 18:05
Although recently the same thing basically took place in the case of Ronnie Biggs. (http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/08/07/uk.biggs.release/)

I thought it was a strange thing to do in his case, too.Yeah, it is indeed. A lot of people didn't care, and some people actually thought it was good that he got let out of prison, even though he was responsible for somebody's death I believe.

As for this law, I think it's absolutely diabolical.

jackles
20-08-09, 18:12
Could you give us a link to it? I'd like to look at that. :)

It is on someones blog...not sure I should link to it..will quote it anyway..

Lockerbie Bomber released from Prison
20 August 2009 at 16:59 | In Criminal Justice, Criminal Law, Legal System, Scots Law | Leave a Comment

So, Scottish Justice Secretery, Kenny MacAskill MSP, has made his decision on the fate of the man convicted of the Lockerbie Bombing. Mr Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi has been released from Greenock Prison and has returned to Libya. This, in my opinion, was the only decision which Mr McAskill could have arrived at. Let me explain:

Scottish Law has compassion inbuilt into it as well as equity. The system sets out to treat no person different from another, whether they are convicted of the most minor of crimes or are convicted as the biggest mass murderer in the history of Scotland. The compassion which Scots law has is true and unconditional. This is something which we should be proud of about our legal system.

There is a policy in place in Scots Law, which has been in place for a very long time. The policy dictates that, if you have a terminal illness and have three months or less to live then you will be released from prison on compassionate grounds. This applies to all convicts in Scotland, regardless of their age, their gender, religion, crime or any other factor

SOURCE: Ramblings of a Scottish Law Student (that is the title of the blog)

interstellardave
20-08-09, 18:17
^^^ Well that's that, then. It's the law, so it is being upheld.

Lemmie
20-08-09, 18:17
^ That's really interesting. I'll have to find a law student at my university to explain further. It would also be interesting to know when the precedent for this provision for compassion, or when the provision was first introduced.

When he/she mentions that it has been in Scottish law for a very long time, I wonder just how long.

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 18:20
So now the debate moves onto whether or not the law is a good one.

interstellardave
20-08-09, 18:22
My thought is that they will have egg on their face if he recovers! I don't suppose that is very likely but miracles happen...

jackles
20-08-09, 18:23
I have been trying to find a good article on it really because I am damn sure people are asking questions about it. While I am not saying that it is right I find it easier to understand as a legalilty than as something that someone has done off their own back.

IceColdLaraCroft
20-08-09, 19:44
What is a bit fishy about this whole thing is that he didn't act alone, he was just the only one that was convicted for the blast (and it still took 20 years). I think if the other men involved were allowed to be let go then he should be able to live out the rest of his 3 months back in Libya.

American's and the American government kept saying "no no no" and even though there were several hundred American's aboard. It didn't occur in America, he wasn't tried in America and it was Scotland's call.

I think it's important to show compassion to people even if they shown none to you.

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 19:53
What is a bit fishy about this whole thing is that he didn't act alone, he was just the only one that was convicted for the blast (and it still took 20 years). I think if the other men involved were allowed to be let go then he should be able to live out the rest of his 3 months back in Libya.

American's and the American government kept saying "no no no" and even though there were several hundred American's aboard. It didn't occur in America, he wasn't tried in America and it was Scotland's call.

I think it's important to show compassion to people even if they shown none to you.Yeah but he was found guilty. Now if he was released on the grounds that he'd been wrongly convicted then obviously I'd see nothing wrong with that.

But there were many Americans on board that flight (the large majority in fact) and I expect the American government felt that it was their duty to try and put pressure on the Scottish government to keep this guy in prison, and rightly so. Many of the families of the American victims have been calling for this terrorist to not be released, and they managed to do that through the American government. It's not like they were saying "we order you to keep him detained". As I said, it was just pressure, and I see nothing wrong with it.

In the end though he had to be released as that was the law, although I do feel that an exception should've been made there. Perhaps this case will spark debate over whether the law is moral or not.

Cochrane
20-08-09, 20:55
Yeah but he was found guilty. Now if he was released on the grounds that he'd been wrongly convicted then obviously I'd see nothing wrong with that.

But there were many Americans on board that flight (the large majority in fact) and I expect the American government felt that it was their duty to try and put pressure on the Scottish government to keep this guy in prison, and rightly so. Many of the families of the American victims have been calling for this terrorist to not be released, and they managed to do that through the American government. It's not like they were saying "we order you to keep him detained". As I said, it was just pressure, and I see nothing wrong with it.
Allow me to disagree on the bolded part. The sentencing and releasing of this person was an internal matter of the UK, which was, through devolution, handled by Scotland (or something like that, that's not what matters here). The US do not have any legal right to interfere in these proceedings. They may certainly voice their opinions, but "pressure" is kind of vague, and especially the US have had a history of exerting questionable amounts of pressure. Obviously not in this case, but it's just a general matter.

In the end though he had to be released as that was the law, although I do feel that an exception should've been made there. Perhaps this case will spark debate over whether the law is moral or not.
Let's have that debate right here, that's what a forum is for, after all! :D

To me, such a policy is morally correct, although not necessary. The government is required to care for the well-being of all its prisoners. This is a humanitarian issue, because all definitions of human rights generally accepted in the western world assume that human rights cannot be alienated. Even if rights have to be restricted (such as, in prison, the right to freedom), the basic human dignity from which all these rights come cannot be taken away and must be protected.

This dignity is not something one can get rid of, even willingly. In cases of murderers I always hear the argument that murderers are no longer human, and hence lose some or all rights. This is something I strongly disagree with. Apart from the definition I mentioned above, I'd also like to point out that we all can, actually, become murderers under some circumstances. If you read about genocides, for example, in particular the very well-researched examples, you'll find that many of the agents of death were perfectly normal people who just got stuck in a system that turned them into killers, and who often went back to perfectly normal lives until they were found out. That does not excuse their deeds (if anything, it makes them more scary), but to me it shows that murderers do not ever cease being humans, and that they hence should always be treated as such.

Now, the scottish executive thinks that to protect the dignity of a prisoner, such a policy is required. To me, this is not necessary: A terminally ill person could, for example, also be moved to a hospital and be under some degree of oversight by the prison, which would still allow them to die with some reasonable amount of dignity. The scottish disagree here and allow for more dignity, freedom and charity, and that is something I very much respect. While it may not be necessary, it certainly is better from a humanitarian point of view than the scenario I described.

touchthesky
20-08-09, 21:02
It's disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. He showed no compassion to the hundreds of people he killed, why on earth is he getting that now?

I am honestly appauled at this countries justice system.

Anne Boleyn
20-08-09, 21:06
As a Scot, I am absolutely apalled and ashamed by this. Despite a staunch Labour upbringing, I will certainly not be voting for them in the next election. Cowardly do-gooders.

Lemmie
20-08-09, 21:07
As a Scot, I am absolutely apalled and ashamed by this. Despite a staunch Labour upbringing, I will certainly not be voting for them in the next election. Cowardly do-gooders.

Labour? Surely it's the SNP who've released him?

Anne Boleyn
20-08-09, 21:13
I thought MacAskill was Scottish Labour? My bad!

Anyway, a couple of things I've just noticed in the discussion:

Scottish Law has compassion inbuilt into it as well as equity. The system sets out to treat no person different from another, whether they are convicted of the most minor of crimes or are convicted as the biggest mass murderer in the history of Scotland. The compassion which Scots law has is true and unconditional. This is something which we should be proud of about our legal system.

I find this absolutely insane! So dangerous, violent serial killers should be treated the same as people who don't pay their TV license? I doubt many would go into the prison service if this was to be the case.

What is a bit fishy about this whole thing is that he didn't act alone, he was just the only one that was convicted for the blast (and it still took 20 years). I think if the other men involved were allowed to be let go then he should be able to live out the rest of his 3 months back in Libya.

This is quite a faulty argument. I mean, Jack the Ripper was never caught - does that mean that we should let ALL murderers go free because he did?

Lemmie
20-08-09, 21:22
I find this absolutely insane! So dangerous, violent serial killers should be treated the same as people who don't pay their TV license? I doubt many would go into the prison service if this was to be the case.

I think that there is a difficulty in extrapolating actual legal process based on the paraphrasing of one law student. Besides, I think that the basic premise of treating every accused equally and with compassion is in the whole judicial procedure - under court examination, sentencing and punishment. Essentially, the right to a fair trial is enshrined in Scottish law, as I think we can agree it should be in any democratic state.

Details on the compassion of Scottish law might bear closer scrutiny however. I agree that he should not have been sent home, but surely compassion in a system of law can only be a good thing?

Anne Boleyn
20-08-09, 21:27
Compassion within reason... I agree, it needs to be looked at. Scratch that, it needs to be FIXED.

Without going off on a tangent, I think that most would agree that British prisons are FAR too soft. For example, the notorious Karen Matthews received a Playstation 3 last Christmas for use in her own cell. A luxury many law-abiding citizens couldn't afford. To my mind, prisons should be absolutely basic, and provide ONLY necessities.

A programme about teenage offenders on BBC3 last week showed one girl refering to prison as 'Butlins with Bars'. Is this how far we want to take 'compassion' towards criminals?

Mad Tony
20-08-09, 22:53
Let's have that debate right here, that's what a forum is for, after all! :D

To me, such a policy is morally correct, although not necessary. The government is required to care for the well-being of all its prisoners. This is a humanitarian issue, because all definitions of human rights generally accepted in the western world assume that human rights cannot be alienated. Even if rights have to be restricted (such as, in prison, the right to freedom), the basic human dignity from which all these rights come cannot be taken away and must be protected.

This dignity is not something one can get rid of, even willingly. In cases of murderers I always hear the argument that murderers are no longer human, and hence lose some or all rights. This is something I strongly disagree with. Apart from the definition I mentioned above, I'd also like to point out that we all can, actually, become murderers under some circumstances. If you read about genocides, for example, in particular the very well-researched examples, you'll find that many of the agents of death were perfectly normal people who just got stuck in a system that turned them into killers, and who often went back to perfectly normal lives until they were found out. That does not excuse their deeds (if anything, it makes them more scary), but to me it shows that murderers do not ever cease being humans, and that they hence should always be treated as such.

Now, the scottish executive thinks that to protect the dignity of a prisoner, such a policy is required. To me, this is not necessary: A terminally ill person could, for example, also be moved to a hospital and be under some degree of oversight by the prison, which would still allow them to die with some reasonable amount of dignity. The scottish disagree here and allow for more dignity, freedom and charity, and that is something I very much respect. While it may not be necessary, it certainly is better from a humanitarian point of view than the scenario I described.The whole point of a prison sentence is that the criminal loses his or her freedoms for the duration of the sentence. It doesn't matter whether they have cancer or not, the sentences are set so that it is made clear when the criminal will be allowed to be released. It is my opinion that a brutal mass-murderer should not be shown any compassion at all as he did not show any of his victims compassion. As I explained earlier, it's not vengeance, it's merely justice.

Perhaps if you pushed me a little I'd agree that this "release upon compassion grounds" should be allowed for non-violent offenders. However, I do not believe murderers such as this man should be able to walk free and spend the remaining few months of his life with his family.

@Anne Boleyn: I completely agree. Our "justice system" is anything but. I know of a case that happened in my town a year ago where two 16-year olds (one of which used to go to my school I think) brutally attacked a student without provocation so that they could rob him and feed their drug addictions. When they'd got what they wanted from him and left him dying in a pool of his own blood, they simply left and the boy wasn't found until a couple of hours later. Fortunately this boy survived, but I think he still has injuries as a result of this attack which will never heal. The two thugs who assaulted this boy were sentenced earlier this year - they got two years in prison. Two years for severely injuring and almost killing someone. Absolutely pathetic.

Love2Raid
21-08-09, 17:41
Update:

The guy has been welcomed in his home country like a hero...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8214708.stm

interstellardave
21-08-09, 18:08
Update:

The guy has been welcomed in his home country like a hero...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8214708.stm

Looks like Cat was wrong about him being detained on the spot!

Catapharact
21-08-09, 18:16
Looks like Cat was wrong about him being detained on the spot!

And I am more then shocked over this display. I certinaly don't want this guy running around the Middle East. If Libya isn't going to be responsible then I say its high time SA send in a lone agent and blow this guy's brains out with a well placed sniper shot.

interstellardave
21-08-09, 18:21
^^^ Well if he truly is very sick and only has about 3 months to live I doubt he'll be doing any kinds of terrorist acts; we can be hopeful about that!

This does set a bad example for others, though.

Mad Tony
21-08-09, 18:58
Update:

The guy has been welcomed in his home country like a hero...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8214708.stm****ing disgusting. Really. Do those imbeciles welcoming him home even know what he did? Also, Colonel Gaddafi's son greeted him when he arrived. What kind of message does that send about the Libyan governments stance on terrorism?

I saw it on the news and some of them were waving Scottish flags. I'm just glad they weren't waving Union Jacks, would've made us look really bad. Actually, I'm really pleased with how the international media have been handling this. From what I've seen they've always referred to the Scottish government and not the British.

And I am more then shocked over this display. I certinaly don't want this guy running around the Middle East. If Libya isn't going to be responsible then I say its high time SA send in a lone agent and blow this guy's brains out with a well placed sniper shot.You know I reckon we should've had a deal with the Americans to get some CIA agents in there to pick him off as soon as he got off that plane. :p

Cochrane
21-08-09, 19:02
The whole point of a prison sentence is that the criminal loses his or her freedoms for the duration of the sentence. It doesn't matter whether they have cancer or not, the sentences are set so that it is made clear when the criminal will be allowed to be released.
Apparently not in Scotland, which was probably already clear when he was sentenced. And is there a practical reason to enforce the sentence? No matter what, he wouldn't be living in prison for any number of years N. If justice is only served if he sits every day of his sentence behind bars, then justice can never be served when a prisoner just happens to die.

It is my opinion that a brutal mass-murderer should not be shown any compassion at all as he did not show any of his victims compassion. As I explained earlier, it's not vengeance, it's merely justice.
I'm not certain I fully understood your explanation, though. You say it's justice because the sentence said he had to stay in for life, but the sentence did apparently not say that (or at least it was clear from the sentencing that he would not stay in for life). So it comes down to subjectivity. Is the correct punishment for mass murder and terrorism to lock someone away for live? A lot of people would actually say that it is too lenient (I'd wager you are among them, but that's really not the point here). On the other hand, there is the "turn the other cheek" approach. But let's assume that we all agree life is the right punishment, for the sake of argument. Then is three months too little really a gross violation of justice? If we assume that life has to mean life, for the purpose of principle, then I guess yes. However, most modern justice systems agree that "life" really only means "very long" or "indeterminate". If you look at the percentages, then three months is really not all that important here. As a human life is a human life, no matter what that man has done, I'm all for not being too strict on principle here if this does not increase the risk of new crime.

As for the showing his victims compassion: In this particular case, it may matter least. He did not look anyone in the eyes and shoot them.

Perhaps if you pushed me a little I'd agree that this "release upon compassion grounds" should be allowed for non-violent offenders. However, I do not believe murderers such as this man should be able to walk free and spend the remaining few months of his life with his family.
I'll agree that sending him back to Lybia and giving him a reception like he received was not the very smartest move ever done.

@Anne Boleyn: I completely agree. Our "justice system" is anything but. I know of a case that happened in my town a year ago where two 16-year olds (one of which used to go to my school I think) brutally attacked a student without provocation so that they could rob him and feed their drug addictions. When they'd got what they wanted from him and left him dying in a pool of his own blood, they simply left and the boy wasn't found until a couple of hours later. Fortunately this boy survived, but I think he still has injuries as a result of this attack which will never heal. The two thugs who assaulted this boy were sentenced earlier this year - they got two years in prison. Two years for severely injuring and almost killing someone. Absolutely pathetic.
I don't think the scottish provision is really necessary, but I still argue for it, because I see the other extreme so often: People asking for harsh sentences for anyone and anything.

Let's take this particular example. Assuming your facts are correct (and I see no reason to doubt them), I guess we can safely say that these two 16-year olds are, pretty much, worthless people. So let's imagine we lock them in prison for ten years. They will come out at age 26, with only a limited level of education (no university degree either) and probably low social skills because they just didn't meet that many people. Congratulations, you turned two worthless sixteen year old people into two worthless twenty-six year old people. The longer you lock them up, the worse it gets. Sure, prisons offer some education, but they will be at a severe disadvantage over those who were out in the open, and they started out with a huge disadvantage already.

Now, I wouldn't recommend too mild a punishment for them either (as I said already, I have little regard for such people), but keeping them locked up forever does not really help anyone.

Ward Dragon
21-08-09, 19:16
What kind of message does that send about the Libyan governments stance on terrorism?

An accurate one :whi:

I'll agree that sending him back to Lybia and giving him a reception like he received was not the very smartest move ever done.

That's pretty much it right there. Even if it's Scottish law that they have to be compassionate and release someone who is near death, does it say that they have to release him to a foreign government where he will be hailed like a hero? They should have kept him in a Scottish hospital where they could keep an eye on him and he wouldn't inspire any other terrorists to view Scotland as weak and easy to attack.

jackles
21-08-09, 19:19
I think there is a discrepancy between the amount of time given for offences though, as in my town there was a well documented assault/murder/attempted murder of two girls by gang members. They got between 27 to 23 years, and the ring leaders have to serve at least that term. But of course sentences for crimes vary.

Love2Raid
21-08-09, 19:37
After seeing this I do feel stronger that it wasn't a very smart move of the Scottisch government to let him go free to his home country. On the other hand, they did show a lot of humanity which is respectable, especially in a time where respect and humanity is becoming scarce. But the feelings of the victims should have outweighed in their decision.

It's also very wrong of the people and government of Libya to welcome him like that, a terrorist. It's a shame. I guess the Scottish hadn't expected this, and neither had I. It's unbelievable.

jackles
21-08-09, 19:42
They said on the news earlier that a lot of people in Libya believe that he is innocent so as far as they are concerned he should be released anyway so they are not celebrating that he is a terrorist but in their eyes, an innocent man being released.

Cochrane
21-08-09, 19:49
After seeing this I do feel stronger that it wasn't a very smart move of the Scottisch government to let him go free to his home country. On the other hand, they did show a lot of humanity which is respectable, especially in a time where respect and humanity is becoming scarce. But the feelings of the victims should have outweighed in their decision.

The victims are all dead, so I guess their opinions are not really useful. Assuming you mean victims in the wider sense of friends and families of the deceased: They are all, I would say, very biased people against him. I know I would be, if in that situation. That is not conductive to true justice.

Mad Tony
21-08-09, 19:59
Apparently not in Scotland, which was probably already clear when he was sentenced. And is there a practical reason to enforce the sentence? No matter what, he wouldn't be living in prison for any number of years N. If justice is only served if he sits every day of his sentence behind bars, then justice can never be served when a prisoner just happens to die.But that's not the point. The point is that he gets to go home and see his family, which I don't think is fair at all.

I'm not certain I fully understood your explanation, though. You say it's justice because the sentence said he had to stay in for life, but the sentence did apparently not say that (or at least it was clear from the sentencing that he would not stay in for life). So it comes down to subjectivity. Is the correct punishment for mass murder and terrorism to lock someone away for live? A lot of people would actually say that it is too lenient (I'd wager you are among them, but that's really not the point here). On the other hand, there is the "turn the other cheek" approach. But let's assume that we all agree life is the right punishment, for the sake of argument. Then is three months too little really a gross violation of justice? If we assume that life has to mean life, for the purpose of principle, then I guess yes. However, most modern justice systems agree that "life" really only means "very long" or "indeterminate". If you look at the percentages, then three months is really not all that important here. As a human life is a human life, no matter what that man has done, I'm all for not being too strict on principle here if this does not increase the risk of new crime.This man was handed an indefinite sentence therefore I believe that he should've had to stay in prison until his sentence was up or he died.

As for the showing his victims compassion: In this particular case, it may matter least. He did not look anyone in the eyes and shoot them.Does that really matter? He murdered hundreds of people.

Let's take this particular example. Assuming your facts are correct (and I see no reason to doubt them), I guess we can safely say that these two 16-year olds are, pretty much, worthless people. So let's imagine we lock them in prison for ten years. They will come out at age 26, with only a limited level of education (no university degree either) and probably low social skills because they just didn't meet that many people. Congratulations, you turned two worthless sixteen year old people into two worthless twenty-six year old people. The longer you lock them up, the worse it gets. Sure, prisons offer some education, but they will be at a severe disadvantage over those who were out in the open, and they started out with a huge disadvantage already.

Now, I wouldn't recommend too mild a punishment for them either (as I said already, I have little regard for such people), but keeping them locked up forever does not really help anyone.They were worthless people anyway. According to the news article, they had no plans to go onto further education and their lives consisted of robbing people to feed their drug addictions. Locking them up for two years is just going to show that they brutally assault someone and get a relatively short prison sentence.

Wouldn't recommend too mild a punishment? It already is. Oh I agree, they shouldn't be locked up forever, but two years is certainly not long enough given the crime they committed, is it?

Love2Raid
21-08-09, 19:59
Yes I meant the families of the victims of course. Of course they are biased, but does that make them any less important or relevant? I think not.

Ward Dragon
21-08-09, 20:01
The victims are all dead, so I guess their opinions are not really useful. Assuming you mean victims in the wider sense of friends and families of the deceased: They are all, I would say, very biased people against him. I know I would be, if in that situation. That is not conductive to true justice.

Doesn't true justice have to take into account the harm he caused in order to decide what is a fair sentence? In that case, I think the suffering of the victims and their families is definitely relevant. In any case, if I understand it right, this guy hasn't expressed any remorse or apologized for what he has done, so I don't think any leniency should have been granted to him.

jackles
21-08-09, 20:06
Megrahi was today released from Greenock prison by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, despite widespread anger from the victims' families.
It also emerged tonight that the Scottish Parliament will be recalled on Monday to debate Megrahi's release.
In a written statement Megrahi addressed the concerns of those who were angry that he had been released.

He said: 'Many people, including the relatives of those who died in, and over, Lockerbie, are, I know, upset that my appeal has come to an end; that nothing more can be done about the circumstances surrounding the Lockerbie bombing.

'I share their frustration. I had most to gain and nothing to lose about the whole truth coming out - until my diagnosis of cancer.

'To those victims' relatives who can bear to hear me say this: they continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss that they have suffered.

'To those who bear me ill will, I do not return that to you.'


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1207816/Obamas-desperate-appeal-Lockerbie-bomber-die-Scottish-prison-killers-fate-decided.html#ixzz0OqkZLMUd

Source:Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1207816/Obamas-desperate-appeal-Lockerbie-bomber-die-Scottish-prison-killers-fate-decided.html)

From what I have read he will not say it is his fault as he was appealing against the conviction.

Ward Dragon
21-08-09, 20:18
Source:Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1207816/Obamas-desperate-appeal-Lockerbie-bomber-die-Scottish-prison-killers-fate-decided.html)

From what I have read he will not say it is his fault as he was appealing against the conviction.

So he claims he didn't do it? Well I guess that's better than bragging about having done it. I don't know much about the original case against him. How strong was the evidence that he was the culprit?

jackles
21-08-09, 20:23
I found this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8021385.stm)


From what I understand his conviction is based on some clothes that were purchased.

Ward Dragon
21-08-09, 20:31
I found this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8021385.stm)


From what I understand his conviction is based on some clothes that were purchased.

Odd. If he was actually not guilty then he should have been released on those grounds and not "compassion." I feel like I don't have the whole story though so I'm not going to assume he was not guilty just from the one article, although it raises a lot of questions. If the crime happened in Scotland, why was he tried in the Netherlands? And was that really the only evidence against him?

jackles
21-08-09, 20:34
From what I have read before it was circumstancial evidence....



...playing devils advocate here....what if his conviction was overturned...how would the courts look then? Maybe safer to release him on compassionate grounds than let him win his appeal?




He also surrendered to the UN, they didn't catch him so as to speak, he chose to be taken.


I have just read that he was convicted as being identified by a shopkeeper as having brought a shirt.

Ward Dragon
21-08-09, 20:37
From what I have read before it was circumstancial evidence....



...playing devils advocate here....what if his conviction was overturned...how would the courts look then? Maybe safer to release him on compassionate grounds than let him win his appeal?

I don't like that. Releasing someone they thought was a mass murderer on "compassionate" grounds makes them look weak and stupid. Admitting they were wrong (if that's the case, not saying it is) would at least show that they uphold justice.

drakl0r
21-08-09, 20:38
This is ridiculous. He doesn't show any compassion towards his victims, so why should the Scottish government? Just because he had cancer? His life is not worth compared to the 270 people who died because of him. And it's unfair to the victims' families.

jackles
21-08-09, 20:39
I don't like it either.

I am feeling that there is a lot more here than meets the eye. I am still trying to find something that states exactly what the conviction is based on within an article I can post!

scion89
21-08-09, 20:48
even though he's been released, his life is still condemned - he's going to die very very soon of a painful and incurable illness.

just because he's been released doesnt make him a free man, he still has to carry the burden of what he did.

Ward Dragon
21-08-09, 20:52
I don't like it either.

I am feeling that there is a lot more here than meets the eye. I am still trying to find something that states exactly what the conviction is based on within an article I can post!

At this point I'm interested in it mostly in an academic sense. I think he probably did do it and in that case I strongly disagree with releasing him (as I've said before). However, if there's a possibility he didn't do it then I am curious why it hasn't been addressed by the Scottish government yet (or has it? I guess denying his appeals is a pretty strong statement after all :p)

jackles
21-08-09, 20:58
I really don't know, I knew virtually nothing about the whole thing until yesterday :o


I keep finding out different stuff..like this (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/sep/02/theairlineindustry.libya) but I don't know the full facts. Interesting that he was not tried by jury apparently.

I don't know what to think....I would hope that after losing one appeal they were sure of his guilt. But it seems that there are a few people who believe the conviction is unsafe.

Anne Boleyn
24-08-09, 21:42
At this point I'm interested in it mostly in an academic sense. I think he probably did do it and in that case I strongly disagree with releasing him (as I've said before). However, if there's a possibility he didn't do it then I am curious why it hasn't been addressed by the Scottish government yet (or has it? I guess denying his appeals is a pretty strong statement after all :p)


MacAskill took part in a Holyrood debate today to defend his actions and face questioning by fellow MPs. He insisted that he stands by his actions, claimed that only a 'Higher Power' should now judge Megrahi, and reaffirmed that he stands by the original conviction.

Naturally, the majority of the MPs showed utter disgust at his pathetic outpourings which, whilst vocal in his insistence that it was his decision, nevertheless blamed everyone from Jack Straw to God. It is also worth noting that MacAskill repeatedly claimed that his decision was SCOTLAND'S decision, that SCOTLAND stood behind him, and that his actions were in keeping with the attitude and laws of Scotland. As a Scot, I would like everyone here to know that I, everyone I've spoken to, and (judging from the letters sent to several Scottish newspapers) the majority of the Scottish people, find Megrahi's release absolutely contemptible. That MacAskill continues to say that he stands by his actions whilst accepting Megrahi's guilt makes an absolute mockery out of the justice system. To my mind, 'compassion' has already been shown to this mass-murderer by keeping him alive, cared for and in comfort. To give him full and absolute freedom is beyond disgusting.

Reports in the Scottish papers now suggest that many Americans will effectively boycott Scotland and Scottish products as a result of this. If the Scottish economy suffers - GOOD! Perhaps it will encourage future governments to listen to the people instead of pandering to the do-gooders.

Lara's Nemesis
24-08-09, 21:50
^
Disagree with the last part of that. Can't really see anything good about Scotland's economy suffering more than it already is.

Ward Dragon
24-08-09, 21:58
MacAskill took part in a Holyrood debate today to defend his actions and face questioning by fellow MPs. He insisted that he stands by his actions, claimed that only a 'Higher Power' should now judge Megrahi, and reaffirmed that he stands by the original conviction.

Naturally, the majority of the MPs showed utter disgust at his pathetic outpourings which, whilst vocal in his insistence that it was his decision, nevertheless blamed everyone from Jack Straw to God. It is also worth noting that MacAskill repeatedly claimed that his decision was SCOTLAND'S decision, that SCOTLAND stood behind him, and that his actions were in keeping with the attitude and laws of Scotland. As a Scot, I would like everyone here to know that I, everyone I've spoken to, and (judging from the letters sent to several Scottish newspapers) the majority of the Scottish people, find Megrahi's release absolutely contemptible. That MacAskill continues to say that he stands by his actions whilst accepting Megrahi's guilt makes an absolute mockery out of the justice system. To my mind, 'compassion' has already been shown to this mass-murderer by keeping him alive, cared for and in comfort. To give him full and absolute freedom is beyond disgusting.

Thank you for the clarification :) I hadn't heard much about this case prior to the news about Megrahi's release so your explanation is very helpful. Unfortunately MacAskill's actions don't make any damned sense to me, but from what you say a lot of Scottish people don't like it either so I doubt he'll last much longer (are there elections for the "justice secretary" in Scotland?)

Reports in the Scottish papers now suggest that many Americans will effectively boycott Scotland and Scottish products as a result of this. If the Scottish economy suffers - GOOD! Perhaps it will encourage future governments to listen to the people instead of pandering to the do-gooders.

I live in the US and I don't think I've ever seen anything made in Scotland before :o Nearly everything here is made in China :p

jackles
24-08-09, 22:05
The thing is Anne B...it is the little people who will suffer not the government. They are too busy feathering their own nests. There is talk of boycotting British goods..i.e english and welsh as well. Why penalise the people of a country? None of us were involved in making any decisions.


Most recent report from the beeb (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8216897.stm)

Lara's Nemesis
24-08-09, 22:09
This site has a lot of info on the proposed boycotts. I don't really believe America should be handing out advice on the treatment of prisoners anyway.

I personally don't think they got the right man anyway, someone had to take the fall. I heard that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was going to name the real culprit soon. He is allegedy an American citizen. Believe what you will.:confused:

http://www.boycottscotland.com/

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/122299/-I-ll-reveal-true-identity-of-bomber-

Mad Tony
24-08-09, 22:22
This site has a lot of info on the proposed boycotts. I don't really believe America should be handing out advice on the treatment of prisoners anyway.Why's that? I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather have a government that allegedly "abuses" terrorists than lets them walk free.

Lara's Nemesis
24-08-09, 22:25
Why's that? I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather have a government that allegedly "abuses" terrorists than lets them walk free.


Depends what your definition of a terrorist is.

Mad Tony
24-08-09, 22:26
Depends what your definition of a terrorist is.The definition that's in the dictionary. What other definition could there possibly be?

Ward Dragon
24-08-09, 22:36
The thing is Anne B...it is the little people who will suffer not the government. They are too busy feathering their own nests. There is talk of boycotting British goods..i.e english and welsh as well. Why penalise the people of a country? None of us were involved in making any decisions.


Most recent report from the beeb (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8216897.stm)

Hey, don't look at me, I'm not boycotting anything :p I say this with all seriousness, but I cannot remember seeing items in stores that are made anywhere in Great Britain. Almost everything is made in China, although a few things are still made in the US. I've also seen Japan, Germany, India, Pakistan, and a few other countries but I cannot remember ever seeing a British country :o

I heard that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was going to name the real culprit soon. He is allegedy an American citizen. Believe what you will.:confused:

If he was innocent and knew the real culprit all this time, why didn't he say something about it during one of his appeals? :confused:

Lara's Nemesis
24-08-09, 22:39
Until a few months ago the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were referred to as "Enemy Combatants".

Not sure Ward Dragon, there was another appeal due that has now been dropped tho.

Ward Dragon
24-08-09, 22:41
Until a few months ago the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were referred to as "Enemy Combatants".

They were captured on the battlefield, weren't they? Name seems to fit. According to the Geneva Convention, non-uniformed enemy combatants can be executed on the spot so imprisonment instead doesn't seem like such a bad thing compared to what legally could have been done.

Not sure Ward Dragon, there was another appeal due that has now been dropped tho.

Right, I think one of jackles' articles mentioned him saying he was disappointed that he didn't get to vindicate himself by winning that appeal. I guess now that he's free there's a chance he's worried about whoever he names killing him, so if he really is innocent I wonder if we'll ever know who the actual culprit is.

Mad Tony
24-08-09, 22:43
The people we're fighting in this war aren't the same as the ones we were fighting in World War II. They're not uniformed and they don't follow international law. It'd be a hell of a lot easier if they were though.

Lara's Nemesis
24-08-09, 23:08
Right, I think one of jackles' articles mentioned him saying he was disappointed that he didn't get to vindicate himself by winning that appeal. I guess now that he's free there's a chance he's worried about whoever he names killing him, so if he really is innocent I wonder if we'll ever know who the actual culprit is.

Don't think we will, the whole thing is a mess really and pretty complex. From what I have read about the trial his conviction was highly dubious tho.

Not sure that a lot of people will take any notice of who he names (if he even does) anyway. The whole thing will probably be swept under the carpet. As far as most people are concerned he was convicted and has served the majority of his sentence.

Ward Dragon
24-08-09, 23:11
Don't think we will, the whole thing is a mess really and pretty complex. From what I have read about the trial his conviction was highly dubious tho.

Do you have any more information about that? I couldn't find anything and jackles only found a little bit, so I'm sure any information about the actual trial would be extremely interesting :)

Lemmie
24-08-09, 23:25
I live in the US and I don't think I've ever seen anything made in Scotland before :o Nearly everything here is made in China :p

14% of our exports goes to the USA and is worth about 2.8 billion pounds to the Scottish economy. Whisky makes up about 0.4 billion of that amount. Although it wouldn't be a killing blow to our export industry, it's a significant dent.

Source: Times newspaper and timesonline.co.uk - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6807288.ece

@ Ward Dragon - Megrahi was tried in the Netherlands because it was a neutral country, although he was tried under Scottish law. I think he probably wanted to avoid being tried in America, where he would most likely have been given the death penalty.

From what I've seen they've always referred to the Scottish government and not the British.

I've seen several news media from America that infer that the Scottish Justice Minister was told to release Megrahi by Gordon Brown. As commentators within Scotland note, it's strange that Brown hasn't released a statement relating to the incident, and we only have a few comments from Alistair Darling.

Lara's Nemesis
24-08-09, 23:26
Do you have any more information about that? I couldn't find anything and jackles only found a little bit, so I'm sure any information about the actual trial would be extremely interesting :)


It's been years since I read about it so i don't have anything at hand. From what I remember all the evidence that convicted him was circumstantial. I'll have a dig around. :)

Many Libyans think he was convicted in order to allienate their country.

Ward Dragon
24-08-09, 23:47
14% of our exports goes to the USA and is worth about 2.8 billion pounds to the Scottish economy. Whisky makes up about 0.4 billion of that amount. Although it wouldn't be a killing blow to our export industry, it's a significant dent.

Source: Times newspaper and timesonline.co.uk - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6807288.ece

Ah, thanks :) I don't drink alcohol very often and I don't think I've ever checked where it was made so I guess that explains why I didn't notice any Scottish whiskey :p But yeah, the article says the boycott thing is mostly aimed at tourism which makes more sense (I mean, it makes more sense that there are a lot of tourists to Scotland compared to imports from Scotland. The boycott is still stupid.)

@ Ward Dragon - Megrahi was tried in the Netherlands because it was a neutral country, although he was tried under Scottish law. I think he probably wanted to avoid being tried in America, where he would most likely have been given the death penalty.

I understand why he wouldn't want to be tried in the US, but if he was tried under Scottish law anyway then why didn't the trial occur in Scotland? Was this due to UN involvement or something?

It's been years since I read about it so i don't have anything at hand. From what I remember all the evidence that convicted him was circumstantial. I'll have a dig around. :)

Many Libyans think he was convicted in order to allienate their country.

Ah, okay then. That's pretty much the extent of what jackles found and posted in some articles earlier in the thread.

Super Badnik
24-08-09, 23:51
Makes perfect sense to me. After all, i'm sure he showed bucket loads of compassion to the people he murdered. :rolleyes:
Seriously though, i hope this sicko rots in hell for what he did! :mad:

Lemmie
25-08-09, 00:06
Ah, thanks :) I don't drink alcohol very often and I don't think I've ever checked where it was made so I guess that explains why I didn't notice any Scottish whiskey :p But yeah, the article says the boycott thing is mostly aimed at tourism which makes more sense (I mean, it makes more sense that there are a lot of tourists to Scotland compared to imports from Scotland. The boycott is still stupid.)

To be honest I wondered what else we're exporting to make that money other than whisky. On tourism, in the Times article I read that American tourists contribute about 260 million pounds to the Scottish economy - about the same percentage of the total as Scottish-US exports.

I understand why he wouldn't want to be tried in the US, but if he was tried under Scottish law anyway then why didn't the trial occur in Scotland? Was this due to UN involvement or something?.

I think the use of a neutral venue for the trial was based on the concerns of the Libyan government. They were asked to extradite the defendants in the trial to either the UK or the USA, which Libya refused to do. Libya in fact offered to try the defendants in Libya on the production of evidence, but of course that was unacceptable.

South Africa under Nelson Mandela offered to host the trial several times in 1994 and twice 1997 but was rejected; it seems that Nelson Mandela was quite vocal over the issue.

Eventually a provision was drawn up to allow Scottish law to prevail in Camp Zeist (a former US airbase) in the Netherlands. I'm still not quite sure about how the venue was chosen.

Also, has anyone else seen this? Lockerbie release could topple Scottish government (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6807289.ece)

Ward Dragon
25-08-09, 00:21
To be honest I wondered what else we're exporting to make that money other than whisky. On tourism, in the Times article I read that American tourists contribute about 260 million pounds to the Scottish economy - about the same percentage of the total as Scottish-US exports.

Ah, shows what I know about imports :o

I think the use of a neutral venue for the trial was based on the concerns of the Libyan government. They were asked to extradite the defendants in the trial to either the UK or the USA, which Libya refused to do. Libya in fact offered to try the defendants in Libya on the production of evidence, but of course that was unacceptable.

South Africa under Nelson Mandela offered to host the trial several times in 1994 and twice 1997 but was rejected; it seems that Nelson Mandela was quite vocal over the issue.

Eventually a provision was drawn up to allow Scottish law to prevail in Camp Zeist (a former US airbase) in the Netherlands. I'm still not quite sure about how the venue was chosen.

Wait a minute, did that guy sit in jail for ten years waiting for a trial? :confused:

Also, has anyone else seen this? Lockerbie release could topple Scottish government (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article6807289.ece)

Interesting, although the title is somewhat sensationalist. I mean, I understand it's big news if the current government resigns or gets impeached, but if it happens within the rules of the system for replacing an unacceptable administration then the government itself is not being toppled. In any case, it will be very interesting to see what comes of this.

Lemmie
25-08-09, 00:33
Wait a minute, did that guy sit in jail for ten years waiting for a trial? :confused:


It seems that the venue was agreed between the British government and Colonel Gaddafi, and the United Kingdom and the Netherlands signed a bi-lateral treaty to allow Scottish law to preside in Camp Zeist.

Text of treaty - here (http://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%202062/v2062.pdf) on page 99.

Well, the trial took place in 2000. Megrahi and his co-accused were handed over to the Scottish police in the Netherlands in 1999, where before they had been held by the Libyans. However, the extent to which they were 'held' is debatable. Whether they were incarcerated or just put under police surveillance, or even just instructed not to leave the country while the debate over the trial venue raged - I can't find any source as to exactly how they were dealt with since they were identified by Libya.

The Libyans also stipulated that the defendants should not be interviewed/interrogated by the police, that no-one else from Libya should be sought for the crime and that three Scottish judges should preside without a jury. Interesting restrictions.

I'm interested in the Swiss connection - a Swiss businessman called Edwin Bollier could also have been tried. I really need to read up on this case.

Ward Dragon
25-08-09, 00:36
It seems that the venue was agreed between the British government and Colonel Gaddafi, and the United Kingdom and the Netherlands signed a bi-lateral treaty to allow Scottish law to preside in Camp Zeist.

Text of treaty - here (http://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%202062/v2062.pdf) on page 99.

Well, the trial took place in 2000. Megrahi and his co-accused were handed over to the Scottish police in the Netherlands in 1999, where before they had been held by the Libyans. However, the extent to which they were 'held' is debatable. Whether they were incarcerated or just put under police surveillance, or even just instructed not to leave the country while the debate over the trial venue raged - I can't find any source as to exactly how they were dealt with since they were identified by Libya.

The Libyans also stipulated that the defendants should not be interviewed/interrogated by the police, that no-one else from Libya should be sought for the crime and that three Scottish judges should preside without a jury. Interesting restrictions.

I'm interested in the Swiss connection - a Swiss businessman called Edwin Bollier could also have been tried. I really need to read up on this case.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Nothing about this makes sense to me right now. I think I'll wait for further information or else reread this tomorrow and see if it makes more sense then :o

Forwen
25-08-09, 00:49
The real question is what the Scottish government backed by Whitehall ("it's a Scottish affair" oh yes) is getting out of this. I've read talk about deals for oil companies but nothing specific. I guess it's worth taking a look at the trade between Scotland/Britain and Libya in the near future.

patriots88888
25-08-09, 01:04
And in the end what does it matter?

Punishment in this sense is handed down as a deterent in hopes to prevent others from committing crimes more so than as a means of any kind of great equalizer or such. In the end he dies as we all do eventually and there's also been numerous terrorist attacks since 12/21/88 so what's to gain from another 3 months?

What really matters is that those who suffered from this terrible fate are remembered and not forgotten. If nothing else, all this publicity has brought them back into our remberances and that to me is what is really important.

"We shall never forget", are the words we use and display to honor those who lost their lives in that other terrorist attack on 9/11. Forgetfulness or compassion? Which is the bigger crime here?

silver_wolf
25-08-09, 02:00
Makes perfect sense to me. After all, i'm sure he showed bucket loads of compassion to the people he murdered. :rolleyes:
Seriously though, i hope this sicko rots in hell for what he did! :mad:
I don't understand comments like this. Because he did horrible things and showed no compassion, we should be the same? Showing compassion and mercy is what separates us from them; it's what makes us human. Besides, the guy's going to die anyways. He served pretty much all of his time.

Ward Dragon
25-08-09, 02:06
Showing compassion and mercy is what separates us from them; it's what makes us human.

So they are not human?

I think this line of reasoning is dangerous ("We're better than they are," "We won't sink to their level," etc.). We're all human and we're all capable of doing bad things under certain circumstances. I think any action taken should have a better reason for it than making us feel like we are better than someone else. If someone was innocent, then they need to be let free. If someone was truly remorseful and had reformed, then it might be appropriate to let them out. But if someone shows no remorse or compassion and he gets let free just so someone else can feel better than he is, then any further crimes he commits are the responsibility of the person who let him free. Justice needs to take into account what is appropriate and what makes the most sense, not what makes us feel better about ourselves.

silver_wolf
25-08-09, 02:12
I didn't mean they're not human. I just think there's a certain sense of irony in someone showing no compassion to someone who showed no compassion because they showed none. It's a bit hypocritical.

Ward Dragon
25-08-09, 02:28
I didn't mean they're not human. I just think there's a certain sense of irony in someone showing no compassion to someone who showed no compassion because they showed none. It's a bit hypocritical.

What about showing no compassion out of a belief that the person is too dangerous to release?

Edit: I realize this now has nothing to do with the comment you responding to. Now I'm just curious about your views:)

silver_wolf
25-08-09, 02:36
Well there's a very fine line between compassion and naivety/ stupidity. Some people, like the criminally insane, cannot help themselves. And in a case like that, to release them would be plain stupid.

Ward Dragon
25-08-09, 03:02
Well there's a very fine line between compassion and naivety/ stupidity. Some people, like the criminally insane, cannot help themselves. And in a case like that, to release them would be plain stupid.

Okay, sounds like we agree then :)

Mad Tony
25-08-09, 06:59
I've seen several news media from America that infer that the Scottish Justice Minister was told to release Megrahi by Gordon Brown. As commentators within Scotland note, it's strange that Brown hasn't released a statement relating to the incident, and we only have a few comments from Alistair Darling.To be honest I wouldn't be surprised if Gordon Brown did support his release, he's so out of touch with the public it's not even funny. The reason he probably hasn't commented on it is because he doesn't want another scandal.

Another Lara
25-08-09, 08:15
Gordon Brown is a complete and utter moron (and that's being polite)

He always speaks out about trivial things like the death of Jade Goody etc, but when it comes to serious political matters that the public demand an answer for, he can't bring himself to do it!

Does he really think this silence makes him look better than what he would have to say?! He's a bloody coward! :mad:

Cochrane
25-08-09, 08:29
Why's that? I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd rather have a government that allegedly "abuses" terrorists than lets them walk free.
I'd rather have one that lets alleged terrorists walk free than abuses them.

I think this line of reasoning is dangerous ("We're better than they are," "We won't sink to their level," etc.). We're all human and we're all capable of doing bad things under certain circumstances. I think any action taken should have a better reason for it than making us feel like we are better than someone else. If someone was innocent, then they need to be let free. If someone was truly remorseful and had reformed, then it might be appropriate to let them out. But if someone shows no remorse or compassion and he gets let free just so someone else can feel better than he is, then any further crimes he commits are the responsibility of the person who let him free. Justice needs to take into account what is appropriate and what makes the most sense, not what makes us feel better about ourselves.
You are right here, but there is a point to the "not sinking to their level" line of thought as well. A modern justice system cannot just give back exactly what the perpetrators did. The "logical mistake" that violent criminals make is to ignore the human dignity of their victims, which prohibits treatment such as blowing up their plane. This is something that a court of law cannot and must not do, as protecting that human dignity is its primary job. So in that sense, I think it is appropriate to say that we cannot use the same standards the criminals used in their crimes in our sentencing of them.

As for him not showing compassion: Hm. He claims he is innocent and has said
'To those victims' relatives who can bear to hear me say this: they continue to have my sincere sympathy for the unimaginable loss that they have suffered.
Does that count as compassion? In a legal sense, it probably can't, since it was legally determined that he was responsible, making this a lie. However, if he maintains that he is innocent, which is not even entirely out of the question, then a statement like this is really the best anyone can reasonably hope to ever get out of him.

TRLegendLuver
25-08-09, 08:34
Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. He didn't show compassion to the hundreds of people he murdered so why should any compassion be showed to him. I bet the families of the victims are absolutely livid, and rightly so. First Ronnie Biggs (one of the great train robbers) and now this. Justice has not been done.

Agree 100%! :tmb:

Mad Tony
25-08-09, 08:36
I'd rather have one that lets alleged terrorists walk free than abuses them.If you want to be soft on terror I guess that's down to you.

Cochrane
25-08-09, 08:37
If you want to be soft on terror I guess that's down to you.

I prefer being soft on terror to being soft on human rights, yes. In the long term, I have far more to fear from an oppressive government than from any terrorist organisation.

Mad Tony
25-08-09, 08:40
I prefer being soft on terror to being soft on human rights, yes. In the long term, I have far more to fear from an oppressive government than from any terrorist organisation.Simply letting terrorists walk free endangers the human rights of others though.

TRLegendLuver
25-08-09, 08:41
Very true Tony! I support you 100%! :tmb:

Cochrane
25-08-09, 08:50
Simply letting terrorists walk free endangers the human rights of others though.

Nobody supports that (except in this case, where the terrorist has about three months left to live — unlikely to be much of a security risk). Treating terrorists and suspected terrorists different from and worse than normal criminals and suspected criminals is the issue.

TRLegendLuver
25-08-09, 08:53
Wow. Whether he is a threat or not, is not the point. He was convicted whether it was alleged or not, and he had a sentence to pay for the lives that he took, so he should take it no matter what the cause of his 'illness' may be.
That's like letting a serial killer or a rapist who has three months to live out because he has cancer. You can do a lot of damage in three months. So I find it COMPLETELY ridiculous.

Mad Tony
25-08-09, 08:54
Nobody supports that (except in this case, where the terrorist has about three months left to live — unlikely to be much of a security risk). Treating terrorists and suspected terrorists different from and worse than normal criminals and suspected criminals is the issue.I agree, I don't think terrorists should be treated differently but perhaps if lives can be saved then I do agree with the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

At the same time though I don't believe terrorists should be released early from prison.

Cochrane
25-08-09, 08:58
I agree, I don't think terrorists should be treated differently but perhaps if lives can be saved then I do agree with the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.
Apart from the fact that I disagree on principle, it's a pretty big "if" you have there. Given how little central organization there is, I think the cases where you capture one who will then be able to give you useful information to stop any terrorist operation will be extremely few.

At the same time though I don't believe terrorists should be released early from prison.

This release early…*While I don't think it's a huge scandal, I admit that I wouldn't have done it myself.

jaywalker
26-08-09, 10:40
Its PM question time today aint it? hopefully he gets a hounding today for it.

Think its a joke that this guy was released in the first place, and the reaction of his `homecoming` was just sickening to watch. I know there is some doubt to his guilt or not within some peoples eyes, but regardless of that to treat him like a national hero is a bit much. If the guy doesnt die soon i hope the scottish minister and mr brown pop over to libya and get him back..

Does this mean all prisoners suffering from an illness that could be terminal should be released?

Chocola teapot
26-08-09, 12:11
They should have locked him up and let the illness do him in.
NO ONE deserves to do what he did and be let free on "compasionate grounds"

Spong
26-08-09, 12:39
Does this mean all prisoners suffering from an illness that could be terminal should be released?

In Scotland yes. If a prisoner has a terminal illness that's in its final stages (not sure of the actual technicalities), they will be freed on compassionate grounds.

And I don't see a problem with that. The law's the law and it applies to everyone with indifference to their crime. I get why people don't like the fact Megrahi has been freed. But suck it up, that's the law, if you're not happy about it then vote for the party that wants to abolish it. It's not like the guy found a loophole and got freed on some outrageous technicality, he's about to die.

What I don't agree with however is the way he was greeted and seemingly placed on a pedestal when he got back to Libya. That was a bit off.

Dennis's Mom
26-08-09, 14:17
Yeah, supposedly the Libyans didn't hold to the agreement that his return be very low key. It was certainly a mistake to believe they could be trusted in that regard.

Anne Boleyn
26-08-09, 16:11
In Scotland yes. If a prisoner has a terminal illness that's in its final stages (not sure of the actual technicalities), they will be freed on compassionate grounds.

And I don't see a problem with that. The law's the law and it applies to everyone with indifference to their crime. I get why people don't like the fact Megrahi has been freed. But suck it up, that's the law, if you're not happy about it then vote for the party that wants to abolish it. It's not like the guy found a loophole and got freed on some outrageous technicality, he's about to die.

What I don't agree with however is the way he was greeted and seemingly placed on a pedestal when he got back to Libya. That was a bit off.

Scottish law (I hesitate to use the word 'justice') dictates that a prisoner may apply for compassionate release if his or her life expectancy is reasonably assumed to by three months or less.

Reports in the tabloids today suggest that Megrahi's 3-month prognosis was based on the findings of ONE OUT OF FIVE doctors. The other four judged him to have a life expectancy of 8-10 months. However, MacAskill decided to go with the minority and release him. I sincerely hope tha Megrahi does live out his 8-10 months, just to show up MacAskill for what he is - a pandering, foolish bureaucrat.

A further insult by this odious man: he claimed during his parliamentary grilling that he was disappointed in Libya's treatment of Megrahi, believing that it showed little respect, awareness or compassion for the families of the victims. He conveniently forgets to mention that the entire thing is HIS doing, and that he has proved HIMSELF utterly lacking in any compassion, respect or awareness for the victims and their families.

Mad Tony
26-08-09, 16:18
Why would he even want to release such scum anyway? It boggles the mind.

Spong
26-08-09, 16:25
Why would he even want to release such scum anyway? It boggles the mind.

Because it's the law perhaps?

Mad Tony
26-08-09, 16:54
Because it's the law perhaps?Yeah but Anne Boleyn mentioned that only one of the five doctors said he only had three months to live, so it certainly looks as if he wanted to release him anyway.

Anne Boleyn
26-08-09, 17:44
Let's not forget that there have been talks to release Megrahi since it was discovered he had cancer. Before this one doctor decided it may be extremely advanced, it was being touted that he would be transferred in exchange for a Libyan prisoner. Discussions about this go back to when Blair was in power. As such, it is clear that since the discovery of his cancer, justice has played second fiddle to 'prisoner's rights' and bleeding heart liberalism. The problem is that when any justice system places emphasis on the rights of criminals, it automatically disregards the wellbeing of victims.

Basically, what emerges from this whole sorry affair is that the British justice system favours the criminals under the misguided fig-leaf of humanitarianism. Thise who bleat about compassion for a condemned man seem to ignore the fact that adequate compassion has ALREADY been shown him by not having him tried in America, and further extended by keeping him in comfortable surroundings. As for MacAskill's insistence that a 'Higher Power' now judges Megrahi - firstly, I would say that 'God' has no place in the courts and, secondly, one might surely extend this ridiculous argument to say that this 'Higher Power' gets us all in the end. After all, everyone is going to die, so why shouldn't we release ALL our criminals and let God sort out the melee? PAH!

Squibbly
26-08-09, 21:38
Because it's the law perhaps?

Just because it's the law doesn't make it right.

Spong
26-08-09, 21:39
Basically, what emerges from this whole sorry affair is that the British justice system favours the criminals under the misguided fig-leaf of humanitarianism.

You mean Scottish law. Don't tar us with the same brush (not where this whole Megrahi thing is concerned anyway).

EDIT

Just because it's the law doesn't make it right.

Well, as I said in my original post, if people don't like it, they should show their disapproval by voting for the party that wants to abolish that law. But are there any parties that want to abolish it?

Ward Dragon
26-08-09, 22:09
You are right here, but there is a point to the "not sinking to their level" line of thought as well. A modern justice system cannot just give back exactly what the perpetrators did. The "logical mistake" that violent criminals make is to ignore the human dignity of their victims, which prohibits treatment such as blowing up their plane. This is something that a court of law cannot and must not do, as protecting that human dignity is its primary job. So in that sense, I think it is appropriate to say that we cannot use the same standards the criminals used in their crimes in our sentencing of them.

Human dignity? I don't even know what that phrase means. It's one of those terms that sounds nice but escapes a clear definition for me. In my mind, the purpose of the court of law is to determine if someone is guilty of a crime and if so, to take steps in order to reduce the likelihood that said crime will be committed again by that person. I think that the court's standards should be completely separate from the criminals' standards -- not better, not worse, simply different. The court has different aims from the criminals so to say one is better than the other is meaningless and shouldn't be a guideline when trying to decide what the courts should do.

As for him not showing compassion: Hm. He claims he is innocent and has said

Does that count as compassion? In a legal sense, it probably can't, since it was legally determined that he was responsible, making this a lie. However, if he maintains that he is innocent, which is not even entirely out of the question, then a statement like this is really the best anyone can reasonably hope to ever get out of him.

If he's really innocent then he should be released on the grounds of being innocent. Why hasn't his last appeal been reviewed instead of releasing him under the excuse of "compassion"? It's almost as if the government was eager to get rid of him however they could rather than review that appeal. That brings out my paranoid suspicion :pi:

Cochrane
26-08-09, 22:24
Human dignity? I don't even know what that phrase means. It's one of those terms that sounds nice but escapes a clear definition for me. In my mind, the purpose of the court of law is to determine if someone is guilty of a crime and if so, to take steps in order to reduce the likelihood that said crime will be committed again by that person. I think that the court's standards should be completely separate from the criminals' standards -- not better, not worse, simply different. The court has different aims from the criminals so to say one is better than the other is meaningless and shouldn't be a guideline when trying to decide what the courts should do.
The idea of human dignity is a corner stone of the german constitution, so I tend to dig it out a lot when it comes to such issues.

The problem I see with your approach is that there really is not much of a point in giving any sentence other than the death penalty. The court has goals besides reducing the likelihood of repeat crimes, and the label you apply to them is pretty much irrelevant as long as one acknowledges that. The court has some interest in preserving the interests the guilty party, not the least just for pure justice. To me, that seems superior to the criminal, who does not have much interest in the welfare of his victims.

If he's really innocent then he should be released on those grounds. Why hasn't his last appeal been reviewed instead of releasing him under these circumstances? It's almost as if the government was eager to get rid of him however they could rather than review that appeal. That brings out my paranoid suspicion :pi:
If I understood things correctly, he himself cancelled his appeal because he would not have been released while a process was still pending.

Anne Boleyn
26-08-09, 23:08
The problem I see with your approach is that there really is not much of a point in giving any sentence other than the death penalty. The court has goals besides reducing the likelihood of repeat crimes, and the label you apply to them is pretty much irrelevant as long as one acknowledges that. The court has some interest in preserving the interests the guilty party, not the least just for pure justice. To me, that seems superior to the criminal, who does not have much interest in the welfare of his victims.

As the death penalty has been abolished (unfortunately, IMO), it doesn't make much sense to say that we should consequently not sentence criminals to life. Yes, the court has goals other than preventing future crimes - the main one is PUNISHMENT. In this day and age, people (in power) seem to forget that it is the function of the justice system to mete out punishment for crimes - and there are few crimes worse than mass murder. As for the court preserving the welfare of the guilty party, this would have been ensured if Megrahi had been keep imprisoned - he would have been cared for and given the appropriate medical treatment. To fully release him to a hero's welcome (and MacAskill can criticise Libya all he wants for this; it is still his responsibility) is apalling - absolutely disgusting. Megrahi was handed a life sentence. That his life will be cut short by cancer should have been irrelevant. Had he simply died of a heart attack in prison, no one would be bleating about compassion. It was some small measure of comfort to the families of his victims that the man responsible for their grief was legally behind bars and paying his debt. MacAskill has robbed them of that.

Ward Dragon
26-08-09, 23:42
The idea of human dignity is a corner stone of the german constitution, so I tend to dig it out a lot when it comes to such issues.

But I still think it's a nebulous phrase. Is it clearly defined in the German constitution? For example, does it refer to the German equivalent of the Bill of Rights which lists what rights are guaranteed by it?

The problem I see with your approach is that there really is not much of a point in giving any sentence other than the death penalty.

I've got a good reason -- if a criminal automatically gets the death penalty just for stealing something, then he's got nothing to lose and everything to gain from murdering all witnesses. Sentences have to be strict enough to reduce the likelihood of someone repeating that crime, but light enough that there's a good reason not to think "in for a penny, in for a pound."

The court has goals besides reducing the likelihood of repeat crimes, and the label you apply to them is pretty much irrelevant as long as one acknowledges that. The court has some interest in preserving the interests the guilty party, not the least just for pure justice. To me, that seems superior to the criminal, who does not have much interest in the welfare of his victims.

The courts are also supposed to provide stability to society by giving a legal resolution to problems instead of people trying to solve such things on their own through unregulated violence. Courts are a part of the government and without such stability the government would have less power. Courts are self-serving in that respect, just as most criminals are self-serving in their own actions. I really think it misses the point to act out of any sense of being better than the criminals because through such pride mistakes are often made. For example, politicians in power (such as governors or presidents) will sometimes grant pardons to certain criminals in order to appear "compassionate" or gain votes for re-election. This is a mistake, especially when the released criminals go on to attack and murder other people which has happened several times.

If I understood things correctly, he himself cancelled his appeal because he would not have been released while a process was still pending.

I see. I wasn't clear if it was his idea to get released on compassionate grounds or if he was told that he'd be released once he canceled his appeal.

Cochrane
27-08-09, 11:30
But I still think it's a nebulous phrase. Is it clearly defined in the German constitution? For example, does it refer to the German equivalent of the Bill of Rights which lists what rights are guaranteed by it?
It's listed as the reason for the other rights. Yes, the phrase is nebulous, and to a certain degree that is intentional, because one does not want the equivalent of the bill of rights (articles 1-20 of the german constitution) to be an exhaustive list.

I've got a good reason -- if a criminal automatically gets the death penalty just for stealing something, then he's got nothing to lose and everything to gain from murdering all witnesses. Sentences have to be strict enough to reduce the likelihood of someone repeating that crime, but light enough that there's a good reason not to think "in for a penny, in for a pound." Again, I think you are thinking too strictly here by making it one-sided about stability, when rehabilitation is seen as an important goal in most jurisdictions I am aware of. I really want to avoid falling into the old internet trap of comparing something to past dictatorships, but there can be no denying that those who ignored the rights of the guilty parties to a large extent did manage to ensure safety better than those who are more liberal.

The courts are also supposed to provide stability to society by giving a legal resolution to problems instead of people trying to solve such things on their own through unregulated violence. Courts are a part of the government and without such stability the government would have less power. Courts are self-serving in that respect, just as most criminals are self-serving in their own actions. I really think it misses the point to act out of any sense of being better than the criminals because through such pride mistakes are often made. For example, politicians in power (such as governors or presidents) will sometimes grant pardons to certain criminals in order to appear "compassionate" or gain votes for re-election. This is a mistake, especially when the released criminals go on to attack and murder other people which has happened several times.I get the impression you are quite cynical, because you seem to assume that everyone is just selfish and compassion has no place in this topic. You can certainly create a law system that is as selfish as you portray and just wishes to preserve stability, but that is missing the point to a certain degree. I won't deny that it is necessary to act as you describe, but that cannot be all, because such a court would have no reason to be fair and just at all. Rather, the job of the court is to maintain the order in the interest not of the government, but of the society, which does include the guilty party (I'll ignore people who are simply accused here for simplicity). This means that a convicted criminal still has to be treated with respect and in accordance with human rights.

I realize this is all a little fuzzy right now, I'll try to write it down more clearly tonight when I have more time.

Ward Dragon
27-08-09, 23:34
It's listed as the reason for the other rights. Yes, the phrase is nebulous, and to a certain degree that is intentional, because one does not want the equivalent of the bill of rights (articles 1-20 of the german constitution) to be an exhaustive list.

So basically they wanted a reason for the article 1-20 rights to be unassailable but still leave room for other rights to be protected? That makes sense. I suppose "human dignity" is roughly the same as God-given "unalienable rights" so now I get where the phrase is coming from :p

Again, I think you are thinking too strictly here by making it one-sided about stability, when rehabilitation is seen as an important goal in most jurisdictions I am aware of. I really want to avoid falling into the old internet trap of comparing something to past dictatorships, but there can be no denying that those who ignored the rights of the guilty parties to a large extent did manage to ensure safety better than those who are more liberal.

But when do criminal rehabilitation programs actually work? It seems to me that if someone wants to reform then they will, but if they don't then nothing will change them. There are too many stories here of criminals receiving very lenient sentences so that they could be "rehabilitated" and then they go on to kill someone else. Off the top of my head, Vermont is sickeningly lax with pedophiles. It's just disgusting to hear what some of these people have done and then to see that they received a very light sentence, got out, and did it again. If somebody is a danger to others, then I think the others should be protected first and foremost even if it means the criminal has fewer rights.

I get the impression you are quite cynical, because you seem to assume that everyone is just selfish and compassion has no place in this topic. You can certainly create a law system that is as selfish as you portray and just wishes to preserve stability, but that is missing the point to a certain degree. I won't deny that it is necessary to act as you describe, but that cannot be all, because such a court would have no reason to be fair and just at all. Rather, the job of the court is to maintain the order in the interest not of the government, but of the society, which does include the guilty party (I'll ignore people who are simply accused here for simplicity). This means that a convicted criminal still has to be treated with respect and in accordance with human rights.

Yes, I'm quite cynical. For thousands of years, evolution has selected for the human race to be selfish and do what's best for themselves. No shame in that. It's necessary for survival :p

As for the other point, no court composed of human beings can every truly be fair and just anyway. The best way to try to be fair and just is to take out the emotional element. Too much hatred or compassion can cloud the verdict either way and result in an unjust ruling that puts someone in danger (whether that's by putting an innocent man in prison or by letting a guilty man go free to attack future victims). Compassion is too emotional to have any place in a judicial ruling.