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August 18, 2011

Scots report crime using Facebook

Scots report crime using Facebook – Wikinews, the free news source

Scots report crime using Facebook

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

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Facebook has revealed a new system in conjunction with the Scottish Lothian and Borders Police whereby users can report criminal activity and concerns to police using the social networking site.

The “Made From Crime” initiative allows Internet users to anonymously report their concerns to police on a dedicated Facebook page that is being established to direct people with tip-offs to Crimestoppers. Police will also be able to send mass Bluetooth messages to mobile phones at public events like football matches to encourage the public to report crime.

Designed to make use of the Proceeds of Crime Act, it will be the first of its kind in Scotland with the Scottish government, the Crown Office, and Procurator Services constituting the foundation of the service. Their backing will allow officers to seize assets that have been purchased through criminal activity.

Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone of Lothian and Borders Police has stated to the public: “We know there are people living beyond their means on the proceeds of crime, be it through the purchase of flash cars, designer clothes or expensive jewellery, and that communities are suffering from the side effects of drug dealing, violence and other associated crimes”.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill states that Lothian and Borders Police is tackling the problem of dirty money that has been obtained through criminal activity in a serious matter. Constable Livingstone has encouraged this, appealing to local communities to provide information and come forth immediately either to Crimestoppers or the Lothian and Borders Police.

Solicitor General Lesley Thomson QC has affirmed that they will take a robust approach to those that profit from crime, using the vast powers at their disposal though the Proceeds of Crime Act.The act has resulted in more than £41 million (US$67.09 million, €46.66 million) in seizures from crooks. It has been utilised in new community projects in Edinburgh, the Lothians and throughout Scotland.



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August 20, 2009

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi released on compassionate grounds

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

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Memorial of Pan Am Flight 103, at Dryfesdale Cemetery
Image: StaraBlazkova.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only individual convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, has been released by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, on compassionate grounds.

Megrahi is suffering from terminal prostate cancer and will be allowed to return to his home country of Libya.

270 people were killed when, on December 21, 1988, the Pan-Am flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was destroyed by a bomb whilst in flight over southern Scotland.

A police convoy escorted Megrahi from his former prison home in HMP Greenock to Glasgow Airport, where he boarded an Afriqiyah Airways flight to Tripoli. He was told he could not remain in Scotland on security grounds.

In announcing the release on compassionate grounds, Justice Secretary MacAskill stated, “Al-Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It is one that no court in any jurisdiction could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die”.

Cquote1.svg The UK families are united in believing that the full independent enquiry for which we have been asking since 1989 should now take place Cquote2.svg

—Jean Berkley, UK Families Flight 103

The conviction remains controversial. Last year then-president of US group Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 told Wikinews that the vast majority were satisfied in Megrahi’s guilt. UK Families Flight 103 painted a very different picture to Wikinews of the opinions in Britain: “UK Families have different views about Megrahi’s guilt or innocence. Certainly some, including my husband and I, believe that we are not in a position to make a judgment about whether he was involved in some way or not,” said group coordinator Jean Berkley, whose son was killed. “Much of the evidence at the trial was circumstantial and confusing and it is a fact that the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, after considering the matter for three years, came to the conclusion that there were grounds for appeal. The UK families are united in believing that the full independent inquiry for which we have been asking since 1989 should now take place, to deal with the many unanswered questions and enable the evidence which would have emerged from the now abandoned appeal to be made public.” This is in sharp contrast to The Daily Telegraph, which earlier reported that the majority of British families felt Megrahi was innocent.

The United States government had been strongly opposed to any possible release. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had previously called the possibility “absolutely wrong”. MacAskill sought to justify the decision by commenting that “Compassion and mercy are about upholding the beliefs th[at] we seek to live by, remaining true to our values as a people – no matter the severity of the provocation or the atrocity perpetrated.”

Megrahi issued a statement shortly before leaving HMP Greenock in which he maintained his innocence. “The remaining days of my life are being lived under the shadow of the wrongness of my conviction. I have been faced with an appalling choice: to risk dying in prison in the hope that my name is cleared posthumously or to return home still carrying the weight of the guilty verdict, which will never now be lifted. The choice which I made is a matter of sorrow, disappointment and anger, which I fear I will never overcome,” said Megrahi.

Cquote1.svg I want him returned from Scotland the same way my wife Lorraine was and that would be in a box Cquote2.svg

—US victim

Robert Gibbs, press secretary for the White House, said “The United States deeply regrets the decision by the Scottish Executive to release Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi. As we have expressed repeatedly to officials of the government of the United Kingdom and to Scottish authorities, we continue to believe that Megrahi should serve out his sentence in Scotland.” Many US victims have also reacted with anger.

Many US victims’ families have reacted with anger. One relative commented that “This might sound crude or blunt, but I want him returned from Scotland the same way my wife Lorraine was and that would be in a box.” Dr. Jim Swire, a UK victim, disagreed, saying Megrahi had “nothing to do with” the disaster and calling the earlier dropping of the appeal “a blow to those of us who seek the truth.”

Megrahi’s plane was greeted by crowds in Tripoli waving both Libyan and Scottish flags. Seif al-Islam, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, held his hand as he exited the aircraft amid heavy security. Loudspeakers broadcast patriotic music and it is reported that celebrations are ongoing in Tripoli.



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August 18, 2009

Lockerbie bombing appeal dropped

Lockerbie bombing appeal dropped – Wikinews, the free news source

Lockerbie bombing appeal dropped

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Lockerbie memorial

The High Court in Edinburgh has today accepted Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi‘s request to drop his second appeal against his conviction for the Lockerbie bombing. Al-Megrahi was found guilty of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, which detonated as the aircraft flew over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 killing all 259 people on board and eleven more on the ground.

Megrahi has always protested his innocence. Although his appeal was dismissed in 2002, a review found evidence of a possible miscarriage of justice and granted Megrahi a second appeal. He is terminally ill with prostate cancer and may soon be released on compassionate grounds. Today’s hearing was attended by the Reverend John Mosey, whose daughter was killed and who believes in Megrahi’s innocence.

The conviction remains controversial, with the majority of victims’ families in the UK feeling Megrahi is innocent while those in the US believe him to be guilty according to the Daily Telegraph. Doctor Jim Swire, a member of UK Families Flight 103, has threatened to sue the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service over what he feels is a deliberate blocking of justice. Meanwhile, in an earlier interview with Wikinews on the twentieth anniversary of the bombing last year, the then-head of the US group Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Kara Weipz, told Wikinews that “There is no difference between the truth as we see it and the official version of events. The facts are the facts, Mr. Megrahi is guilty.”

Wikinews has obtained a statement from Mrs. Weipz’s replacement Frank Duggan. In it Duggan maintains that Megrahi should die behind bars in Scotland, casts doubt on the likelihood of a transfer to Libya and attacks the Scottish media’s coverage of the case. Dr. Swire has also been contacted with a request to comment.

“The murderer appealed again, and now seeks, without apparent reason, to withdraw that appeal. The court had little discretion, and absent some grandstanding from the bomber’s attorneys, it is certainly not what the Scottish media is making it out to be. It is NOT the key to Mr. Megrahi’s release pursuant to the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, since Article 5 of that agreement states that there cannot be any pending legal action against him. There is, as everyone should know, another appeal pending, which was originally filed before Megrahahi’s, objecting to the lenience of the sentence for the murder of 270 innocent souls. In addition, Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill must still rule on the request for transfer, a request made by [Libyan President] Muammar Gadhafi, who has admitted his nation’s guilt in the most egregious case of state-sponsored terrorism in UK history. It is simply inconceivable to us that the Scottish government would respect the wishes of this man.

“The American victim’s families cannot understand why Megrahi would withdraw his appeal, unless his attorneys thought that they were not persuading Minister MacAskill that the bomber was indeed on his deathbed. That is a more likely scenario since they had been saying he had one foot in the grave for the past year. If the rumors of his impending release, fueled by the Herald, Guardian, Scotsman and other “newspapers” were meant to test public opinion about his release, either by Prisoner Transfer or Compassionate Release, then the trial balloon was successful. There has been worldwide outrage and opprobrium that this man might get to go home to a hero’s welcome in Libya.

“The only other reason we can imagine is that his attorneys were not aware of the other pending appeal, and are perhaps taking advice from that legal scholar, Prof. Robert Black, who still maintains that there was insufficient evidence in the first trial and appeal. Black has been wrong about every step of this case from the beginning, yet he and Dr. James Swire are given full opportunity to express their views of the evidence in the UK “newspapers.”

“The convicted bomber should not be transferred under any subsequent agreement since the arrangements for the trial in the Netherlands promised that if convicted, the defendant would serve his prison term in Scotland. As to the application for release on compassionate grounds, this has caused the most uproar around the world. News media, not so many in Scotland I regret to say, wonder just how much compassion was shown by Megrahi and Libya when they planted a bomb designed to murder hundreds of innocent, unsuspecting lives.”

Megrahi is now set to complete his sentence in HMP Greenock, where he is to serve a minimum of 27 years, barring any further developments.

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