Friday, August 06, 2010

So How Was Convicted Lockerbie Bomber Released?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the release of convicted terrorist Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi finds that there was no grounds on which he should have received the compassionate release.

Megrahi supposedly won a "compassionate release" in August 2009 because of a medical report that predicted that he'd be dead in three months from prostate cancer. So how is it that we've got reports from some of those involved in his case that he may live 10 or more years?
While there was no question that Mr. Megrahi's cancer was terminal, there is no evidence that any of his specialists—two urologists and two oncologists—gave or signed off on a three-month prognosis, a review of the records and interviews with people familiar with the case indicate. According to people familiar with the matter, neither of the urologists offered any prognosis or was asked for one.

Dr. Fraser's report says "no specialist 'would be willing to say'" whether Mr. Megrahi had more or less than three months to live. The report cites the observations of Mr. Megrahi's primary-care physician at Greenock prison, a young doctor who reported that Mr. Megrahi's clinical condition "declined significantly" during a one-week period in late July and early August last year. That clinical decline is not described in detail.
If no one was willing to sign off on the three-month prognosis that was central to his case for a compassionate release under Scottish law, how did he receive it.

This is a galling miscarriage of justice and goes to show that he should never have been released from prison in the first place. The condition and the extent of his cancer appear to have been greatly exaggerated, leading to his release.

Moreover, it doesn't appear that there was any kind of consensus about his actual condition, let alone how much time he had left.
Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber, argued a year ago that he should be freed because his doctors said he was on the brink of death with prostate cancer. "All the personnel are agreed that I have little chance of living into next year," he said last August in a meeting with the Scottish justice minister.

In reality, no such consensus existed among Mr. Megrahi's doctors. Mr. Megrahi remains alive back in his homeland of Libya, freed after a Scottish doctor said a reasonable survival time for him was three months—a key threshold for "compassionate release."

But there is no evidence that any of the four specialists who treated his cancer—two urologists and two oncologists from the U.K.'s National Health Service—assented to the three-month prognosis Mr. Megrahi needed to go free.
One of the oncologists reported that he had 18-24 months to live depending on his response to treatment based on his tumor rating a Gleason score of 9 on a 2-10 point scale.

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