[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 111

OCTOBER 21 1988

In the following letter published by in the Herald, Dr Jim Swire reflects on the last episode of the never ending Lockerbie tragedy in which 270 innocent people lost their life.


“Most people would not wish to exploit or extend the misery of others. It is so easy to hate, yet to harbour corrosive hate is also to harm one self. Does anyone suppose they would feel any lasting benefit were Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi forced to die in prison, far from his family? Would such a fate advantage those still grieving after 20 years for the loss of loved ones at Lockerbie? I don’t believe it would.

“More than five years after his application, his next appeal against his 27-year sentence still does not have a starting date. All we know is that our Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission decided his trial might have been unfair. The absence of certainty is in a sense our fault. We have been far too slow. Look at the dilemma tardiness has brought upon us. But the lack of certainty is irrelevant: guilty or innocent, we have an unfolding human tragedy. We do not have a code of punishment that condemns people to die in a foreign prison, so far from their family.

“The world is watching whether we show magnanimity or vengeance. To those who might wish the maximum misery for this man I would quote John Donne:

“Send not to know for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee.”

                                                 Dr Jim Swire,

                                                    Father of Flora who died in the bombing of Pan Am 103

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