As it has in the United States, Scotland’s release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi on the grounds of ‘compassion’ is sparking controversy in Europe.
Much of the debate revolves around the issue of which is more valid: European ‘compassion’ vs. American ‘revenge’.
This editorial from Trouw of The Netherlands frames the issue this way:
“The American families of the victims and the U.S. administration insist that Megrahi should have remained in this cell until the end. … This expressed desire for revenge is much stronger in American judicial culture than it is in Europe. This is also reflected in the American use of capital punishment.
Later, discussing why Europeans are more lenient than Americans, the editorial says in part:
“These are dramatic decisions that are painful for many. But allowing such offenders to go home to die is a sign of strength. It is a gesture that shows how the civilization that the condemned sought to undermine has proven stronger than they are.”
Translated By Meta Mertens
August 21, 2009
The Netherlands – Trouw – Original Article (Dutch)
The release of the Libyan Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is remarkable. It’s not often that a convicted mass murderer is set free. In 2001, Megrahi was found guilty for participating in the 1988 attack on a Pan-Am Boeing aircraft that killed 270 people.
His conviction depended primarily on circumstantial evidence. In Malta, Megrahi is said to have purchased the clothing in which the bomb was wrapped. Megrahi – and Libya – have always denied involvement.
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