Ramifications of releasing the Lockerbie bomber

Friday, August 28, 2009 | 9:02 a.m. CDT; updated 10:03 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 4, 2009

Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism:  The bombing of a Pan American jet as it was flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 murdered 270 people. Most of those killed were Americans. Twelve years after the plane blew out of the sky, a Dutch court operating under Scottish rules found Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, a member of the Libyan security forces, guilty of the murders. He was sentenced to 27 years in jail. Last week, the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he released Megrahi from jail after serving only seven years because Megrahi is suffering from prostate cancer and has less than three months to live. But, others think there was a deal between the British government and Libya intended to create favorable trade conditions with the oil rich country. Your story in the Scotsman (Thursday) says that MacAskill did not consult cancer experts when he claimed that Megrahi had less than three months to live. That makes it sound as though he may have had an ulterior motive. If so, what might that have been?