Opinion

Commentary: Scotland bureaucrat's stupid move

A monster has gone free and the official who let him go wants the world to think of the act as compassionate.

Instead, he looks like a brain-dead bureaucrat.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, is free.

He was part of the conspiracy that exploded a bomb hidden in the cargo hold of the U.S.-bound jet. It killed all 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground in Britain's worst terrorist attack.

Al-Megrahi has terminal cancer and Scotland's Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, set him free so he could go home to Libya to see his mother and die.

He served only eight years of a life sentence for killing 270 people. There is no death penalty in Great Britain, except for Northern Ireland. His sentence required he serve at least 27 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

MacAskill tried to make the case for his leniency on worldwide television. Instead, what he accomplished was to be sure his name and al-Megrahi's will be forever linked.

It shows even the doughty Scots are capable of putting a moron in high office.

He also perhaps bolstered death penalty advocates' argument that sometimes a court's decision that a person be locked away for life without parole can be changed, after a few years, to, "Well, he's been punished enough."

Of course, al-Megrahi was serving only a 27-year sentence. That in itself is an indictment of equal justice. Bernard Madoff got a 150-year sentence for stealing money. He stole a lot, but he'll never serve 150 years unless he lives to be 221.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.

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