Cartoonists Color Their Contempt for Lockerbie Release

The early release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from Scottish prison on "humanitarian grounds" elicited strong reactions both in the United States and the United Kingdom. surveyed editorial cartoonists on both sides of the Atlantic to get a sampling of their reactions to the freeing of the only man ever convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people.


    The Miami Herald

    Miami Herald cartoonist Jim Morin said he found Scotland's decision to release Pan Am bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi "quite shocking." "This one was a little personal for me because 35 kids were killed in that plane who attended ... the Syracuse University arts program abroad in London and I had attended that same program," Morin told "I just find it to be outrageous" that Scotland released Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the 1988 bombing that killed 270 people. "I understand how they feel about it, I understand that they have a compassionate system," he said. "I think that they maybe should have consulted with the victims' families and listened to them before making the decision." Click here for more cartoons from Jim Morin in the Miami Herald.

    Chicago Tribune

    Cartoonist Dave Granlund said he was perplexed by Scotland's decision to release convicted bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, and "still trying to figure out what was going through the minds of the people in the prison system." Granlund wondered whether people in similar situations -- including the accused terrorists housed in the naval prison at Guantanamo Bay -- would now be trying to get out early through compassionate release. Granlund said he would have understood an early release for someone who had done a long stretch in prison, but al-Megrahi "has only been in prison for a very short while "Murder is murder, and even in this country where we say 'life without parole' or 'life in prison,' it doesn't really mean that all the time," he said. Click here for more cartoons from Dave Granlund from the Chicago Tribune.

    The Scotsman

    "This is an absolute catastrophe for the Scottish National Party, the Scottish government," said Iain Green, cartoonist for The Scotsman. "There were images of the Scottish flag flying at the Tripoli airport, and it was a very awkward and embarrassing situation for Scotland to be in." Click here for more cartoons from Green at The Scotsman.

    Edinburgh Evening News

    "I'm basically trying to point out that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair have already met Qaddafi (and they forged) the so-called Deal in the Desert," said cartoonist Frank Boyle, referring to the 2007 reconciliation pact between the U.K. and Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi. "They're enjoying the fact that Scottish government have taken all the flak for this but they set up the deal." Click here for more cartoons from Frank Boyle.

    The Houston Chronicle

    Nick Anderson, cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, said that he was "stunned to hear the news that someone who was convicted of killing 270 people would be eligible for 'compassionate release.'" Anderson, who opposes the death penalty, said he expected al-Megrahi to spend the rest of his life in prison for his "heinous crime," but said the concept of life in prison is "undermined when a system releases criminals prematurely."  "I tried to think of an image to match my sense of outrage," he told Click here for more cartoons from Nick Anderson at the Houston Chronicle.

    The North Jersey Record

    Jimmy Margulies, the cartoonist for The North Jersey Record, said he couldn't believe Scotland was "talking about showing compassion for this person convicted of the bombing, considering how many lives were lost in this terrible tragedy." Margulies said it was crazy to grant an early release to someone who spent so little time in prison. "The amount of time that he actually spent behind bars was relatively brief, not even a decade, so showing any sort of mercy for this sort of person just seems to me like rubbing salt in the wounds of these families who lost heir loved ones," he said. Click here to see more cartoons by Jimmy Margulies at The North Jersey Record.

    Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Randy Bish, cartoonist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, told that his cartoon was a kind of memorial for a local Pennsylvanian who was killed in the bombing of  Pan Am Flight 103. "There was a girl who was on that flight, one of the three from the area, so I guess that cartoon hit a little closer to home," Bish said. "What the cartoon says is that the bomber was given he chance to go home to die and these people, they were never given that." Click here for more cartoons from Randy Bish at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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