BBC World is flashing the news of Lockerbie bombing convict Abdel Baset al-Megrahi being set free to go to Libya on compassionate grounds.
He is reportedly suffering from terminal prostrate cancer and is supposed to have a ceiling of three months to live further. The US has been vehemently opposing any move like this which they claim would be unjust and cruel to the relatives and kins of the 1988 PAN-AM flight-103 passengers (some 270 odd people, out of which more than 170 were Americans.)
This release however raises many questions about the theory behind crime and resulting punishment. What is a just punishment for the crime which equates perfectly the remorse required on the part of the convict? No one can claim to know this; the US has a provision of multiple life sentences which in many cases stretch beyond three life spans of the convicts. India has the provision of capital punishment in ‘rarest of rare’ cases where the definition of ‘rarest of rare’ is subjective and based on the judicial bench’s evaluation of proofs, circumstances and evidences.
Had Megrahi been sentenced to death by say lethal injection, would that not have been a rightful culmination of the ordeal for both the parties? Or is this the right step taken since Megrahi has maintained his innocence throughout the trial? Aren’t remorse and penance the end results desired instead of eye-for-an-eye?
If he’s so adamant about his innocence even in his last stride towards the ultimate then there are two things possible, he’s really innocent – in which case this action meets the natural justice, he deserves last few days in his own country – or he doesn’t think he did any wrong by executing the dreaded plan, thereby indicating that the modern process of delivering justice has not succeeded in making him regret his actions, thereby the system rather needs to question itself – as to whether there’s anything greater than the love for dear life and mortal self that drives few people to the nadir of inhumane behaviour sans regret – and evolve further.