Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 14:56 UK

Lockerbie bomber release: Your reaction

Libyans welcome Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi
UK and US leaders have condemned the welcome given to Megrahi

Readers in the UK and US have emailed the BBC in their thousands reacting to the release and subsequent jubilant welcome given to the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on his return to Libya.

They reflect a mixture of praise and anger on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read a selection of the comments below.

Will you 'boycott' Scotland?


It is never a mistake to show compassion. It shows that we live in a civilised society with a way of life for lesser societies to aspire to. And I don't think America can claim the moral high ground given their record regarding torture, rendition and a willingness to disregard the rights of prisoners to a fair trial.
Valerie Ballard, Rochester, UK

I am so proud to be Scottish. One of our ministers has made a decision in accordance with our good Scots law, based on precedent and guided by the compassionate principles which have been introduced into our legal system by our legislation. The decision shows that Scots can make tough decisions based on both logic and compassion, and not on political spin, vengeance or hatred. The world is a saner place today, thanks to [Scottish Justice Secretary] Kenny McCaskill and Scotland.
Pop 67, Glasgow, Scotland

I am full of admiration and support for the courageous decision by the Scottish government to release Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. I am not bothered by the American reaction to this event. It is about time they learned that they do not rule the world and cannot and should not force their will on other nations.
Andy Pettigrew, Sheffield, UK

There is no logical reason to believe the the majority of Americans think that this is a mistake. As horrific an event that he created, people need to understand that individual punishment will never solve any of the crises that exist. The bomber is a just a man who now wants to live out his life uninterrupted. World organisations and governments need to focus on the underlying problems that breed hate and unrest. Reach out to those who are sceptical. We all have the same problems.
Cynical PA, Zionsville, Pennsylvania, USA

I commend the Scottish government's brave decision to grant compassionate release to the Lockerbie bomber. If our standards are indeed any higher than the bomber or others like him, it's more important than ever that we be consistent with those higher standards, especially in this case. Anyone who would oppose these standards sides with the bomber and others like him, along with their primitive ideology.
Don Greene, Denver, Colorado, USA

From what I have read on the Lockerbie bombing, this man was jailed based on tampered evidence and from what I can tell, he probably wasn't the man who should have been put in jail. Well done to Scotland for making an incredibly hard decision and not giving in to pressure from other governments.
Sarah, Croydon, UK

Who cares what the US or anyone else says. This was a decision made by the Scots and reinforces why we are a greater nation than those who promote terrorism and vengeance. I am proud of Kenny MacAskill and proud to be part of this nation. We have set a standard for the rest of the world to follow and an example of strength not weakness.
Gordon Anderson, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

This has nothing to do with the British government and everything to do with Scotland. Critics outside Scotland focusing on Britain's relationships with Libya need to get their facts straight and remember it was an independent judgement by the Scottish justice secretary. I'm proud to be Scottish today and I think Kenny MacAskill has proved we are the more mature nation through his decision.
Helen, Arbroath, Scotland

Well done to the Scottish legal system for showing compassion to a dying man and not buckling to pressure from the hypocritical US. What purpose would letting this man die in prison have served except bitter vengeance and if it aids in bringing peace to the Middle East, then brilliant - the US certainly can't do it.
Rennie, Glasgow, Scotland


Watching the reception in Tripoli for the convicted killer, Megrahi, made me feel sick. Scotland and the UK have made a big mistake and will pay a big price. I will take my trip to Europe this fall to some place outside Scotland or the UK, rest assured. There is a price to be paid for this kind of conduct. Maybe it really has something to do with gas or oil. The real reason for this decision will come out.
FC Meyer, Bigfork, Montana, USA

The Scottish Justice Secretary went to great lengths to say that Scotland must stick up for the values it holds dear and show compassion. I agree with that. But what about the other values it presumably holds dear? Such as protecting its people? Showing that British justice will not be diluted? What does this decision say to those who would plant another bomb on Scottish or wider British soil? I think this shows very poor judgment by the Scottish government. The US is right for once.
David, London, UK

I am appalled at this decision to release this man. He was tried and convicted and should still be in jail. It doesn't matter what people's individual opinions are of his guilt or otherwise, he was given a fair trial. To state that he will be judged by a higher authority, I presume God, is equally appalling and shows we are led by white liberal Christians with no feeling for the opinions of the wider public and who have made this country into an appeasing lily-livered state of no consequence.
Colin Kirby, Ashton under Lyne, UK

I am a Scot living in America and can state that today I am ashamed to be associated with the decision made by the Scottish government. This action is not compassion, it is stupidity and, as Obama states, a mistake - a big mistake. There are many other ways for the Scots to show compassion - this is not one.
William McGuigan, Thousand Oaks, California, USA

As an American with deep Scottish and British roots, I have to admit I am a bit disappointed with what has transpired. But I can also understand some of the other posts in favour of the release and those that tell us Americans it is no business of ours to judge the Scottish justice system when we have Guantanamo and other creepy, unjust prisons throughout the world. But at the end of the day, it is a sad day when justice is not served up appropriately. Today was such a day.
Jeffrey Welch, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Both my grandfathers and my father fought to defend Britain in the war. They would all feel so betrayed right now. Worst of all was Mr MacAskill's self righteous diatribe about ethical decision making. Mr MacAskill offered little compassion for the families of those who were murdered on either side of the pond.
Larry, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

Thousands of prison inmates die every day as a result of some kind of illness. Why is Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi an exception? That is not fair toward other inmates who are terminally ill and are currently incarcerated. I was also surprised by the warm welcome Libya gave to a criminal who took part in the killing of 270 innocent people. Bottom line, I am disappointed by the Scottish decision to release this murderer. He deserves to rot in prison.
Stanislav Sazonov, New York, USA

Like the majority of Americans, I am outraged at the release of this monster. He showed no remorse and in my opinion should have been executed for murdering everyone on the airline. The Scottish government have not shown the strength of its heritage and should be ashamed to show their faces in public.
Arnold Stout, The Colony, Texas, USA

After the disgraceful action of your government today in releasing a terrorist convicted of a crime resulting in hundreds of deaths on the Pan Am plane, we have decided never to return to Scotland as tourists. We had been planning a trip to Scotland and had discussed our plans with friends in England. That is all cancelled now. We have loved your country on past visits but never again.
Stanley Brown, Boulder, Colorado, USA

If "in prison for life" doesn't mean that, and the decision to release is at the discretion of a lone government official, then it makes it harder to convince Americans that the death penalty is not necessary. The decision to release Al-Megrahi displays no compassion for the victims' families who are re-living their losses today, shows no respect for international opinion and is counterproductive to justice. The Scots' pride in their values - as trumpeted by MacAskill - is a false pride.
Arun Macgupta, Manalapan, New Jersey, USA

This is a terrible decision. If the man was innocent of the crime, then he should have been pardoned, with compensation. If he was guilty then his crime was so heinous that he should never have been released - even on compassionate grounds. What we have seen is the concealed machinations of various governments (including probably the US) to cobble together a nice little deal which suits them all and the wider political realities of the Middle East. We shall probably never know the real truth.
Alan, Midlothian, Scotland

Mr MacAskill's decision was soft-hearted and soft-headed. It was poorly thought through in its implications. Libyan celebrations over a weak West are happening now. Compassion? Stupidity.
John O'Shaughnessy, San Francisco, USA

I am totally disgusted and ashamed of being Scottish and I hope the people of the USA know that MacAskill does not have the backing of the people of Scotland. How a decision like this can be made by one man is beyond me, I think he is nothing but a coward. I wonder if the outcome would have been different if his family were involved in this. It's a total disrespect for all the lives that were lost. Megrahi should have spent the last of his days behind bars.
Eileen Scott, Renfrewshire, Scotland

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