The Al Magrahi rumpus – what is it all about?
Ade Sawyerr © London, August 2009
I sat through a 25 minute long speech by the Scottish Justice Minister Kenny Mackaskill that justified the release of Al-Magrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing and wondered why this justification had to be carried live on television. Then I watched the white ‘black maria van’ whisk him out of jail to the airport, saw him board a plane to Libya and just wondered why this circus was being made public.
Now it turns out that Prime Minister Gordon Brown had written to Mummar Ghadafi about the release of this high profile prisoner who had been subject to so much political and diplomatic negotiation even before he was tried. First Secretary Mandleson subsequently wades in to suggest that there was no deal relating to the release and that the trade mission promised was in no way part of the deal to release the prisoner. I then hear that Prince Andrew was meant to lead the trade delegation to Libya on the 40th anniversary of the violent coup d’état that overthrew the established monarchy in Libya. Ex Prime Minister Tony Blair, who cannot stay out of the limelight, waxed lyrical on why Libya needs to be brought back from the cold and that though there was no deal, it was not such a bad deal to have released the guy.