19 August 2009

Deal or no deal?

Why would a long-term prisoner abandon an appeal? It is possible, of course, that the appeal has been dropped in the simple hope that the authorities will look kindly on a request to be repatriated - but that would involve a substantial investment in the benificence of those authorities. It seems far more likely that a high-powered legal team would seek certain assurances of repatriation, even a guarantee, particularly if they knew that certain parties might be seriously embarrassed if the appeal were to run full course, while other parties are desperate to drill for oil in the Gulf of Sidra. Such a guarantee could not of course be made public - one has to observe certain legal proprieties after all. But a deal could be made and who would offer a quid without a quo?

In this context, the remarks of the prisoner's legal team are particularly interesting:
Appeal judges in Edinburgh were told yesterday that the 57-year-old was convinced that abandoning his long-running appeal against his conviction would "assist in the early determination" of the application to be sent back to Libya.
Maggie Scott QC, the head of Megrahi's legal team, increased suspicion of an unofficial deal by saying her client, who is now very weak, in severe pain and distressed, believed he would get home quickly only if he gave up the appeal.
She hinted that Megrahi believed that keeping the appeal "alive" meant the Scottish government would either block or delay his applications for compassionate release, including a separate prisoner transfer bid to be sent home to continue his sentence in a Libyan jail.
"His absolute priority in the little time he has left is to spend it with his family in his homeland," she told the court. "It's the appellant's belief that instructions to abandon his appeal will assist in the early determination of these applications."

Source: The Guardian (here)


Anonymous said...

I don't get it.

A deal usually means the both parties get something that they want, what has the Scottish Government got from Megraghi?

Surely it would have been in the Scottish Government's interests to have his appeal continue and throw light on his conviction and the myriad of alternative and very plausible throies of who was behind the bombing.

Indy said...

The appeal has been dropped because it is a condition of the application made for a prisoner transfer that there are no outstanding legal issues. In other words if the appeal was not dropped no application under the prison transfer agreement signed between the UK Govt and Libya could be approved.