One got a glorious homecoming. The other was left to rot. Bill Frelick on the paradoxes of justice, Libya-style – and the perils of pretending Gaddafi has changed his stripes.
The Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, cited "compassion" as the reason for releasing Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi after he served only eight years of a minimum 27-year sentence for the murder of 270 people on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Megrahi may make a cameo appearance as Libya celebrates at the 40th anniversary of Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s coup this week – a festive event featuring military parades and fireworks. The image of the returning Megrahi kissing Gaddafi’s hand stands in marked contrast to my memory of another terminally ill Libyan who was denied such a homecoming.