August 20, 2009
Posted: 1809 GMT


Our poll today has generated a lot of interest and hundreds of you have voted already. On the day Scottish authorities freed the only man convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Scotland, we've been asking if you agree with the decision.

Scottish justice officials have allowed Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi to return home to Lybia on "compassionate grounds," because he is in the final stages of terminal cancer.

We'll read out results from our poll, and take you live to Scotland and the Middle East for reaction to Megrahi's release.

In the first edition of Idesk, we spoke to the brother of one of the victims of Pan Am 103 who vehemently disagreed with the decision to free Al Megrahi. In the next edition, we'll speak with Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora was killed in the bombing, who argues that the man convicted of the bombing is a scapegoat and who agrees with the decision to allow him to return to Libya.

Also today, we'll go live to Afghanistan for the latest on presidential elections in the volatile country. It's only the second time ever Afghans have been able to elect their own president. Violence levels were lower, but there are reports of low voter turnout and instances of apparent fraud.

Plus, we'll take you live to Baghdad, where authorities have had to backtrack on moves to "normalize" the Iraqi capital by removing blastwalls and some checkpoints. Yesterday's coordinated bombings in Iraq that killed at least 100 people have forced security officials to reconsider extreme measures to protect civilians from bomb attacks. Arwa Damon is live to Baghdad.

And did you know someone has actually taken the trouble to categorize "annoying Facebook" personalities? There are the compulsive updaters, the friend hoarders, the hysterical inviters.. Join us at the International Desk to find out if you qualify for one or several of the categories!

Oh and Marc McKay and I will chat about the latest Usain Bolt/Tyson Gay face-off.

That, and the rest of the day's top weather and business stories, of course.

See you on TV,


Posted by: ,
Filed under: Today At The I-Desk

Share this on:
Phillip   August 20th, 2009 7:13 pm ET

This is a total disgrace. This man surrendered his right to a normal and free life when he deprived so many of exactly that. Not just the victims, but the hundreds of those affected by this act of barbarism. He should rot in prison. Not as punishment, but as some form of justice and even moral compensation.

Tj FitzGerald   August 20th, 2009 7:15 pm ET

This can't be anything other than political. Who gets sent home from a virtual death sentance because they MIGHT die at home. I am as compassionate as they come, sorry he's got cancer but did the 270 victims get a chance to be with their families? Sick. Really Sick.

Samuel Nwaokonko   August 20th, 2009 7:21 pm ET

I Think Considering His Health, He Needs The Compaission He Has Recieved. Let Us Never Be Like The Hand That Crushed The Flower, But Be Like A Crushed Flower Which Leaves Fragrances In The Hands Who Crushes It. I Think Is What The Scottish Has Done.

Chima Ozougwu   August 20th, 2009 7:21 pm ET

I think Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi did evil against humanity and should be sentenced to death for mass murder. Chima from Nigeria.

Emily Permanand   August 20th, 2009 7:24 pm ET

This is a total disgrace, Mr. Al Megrahi should have served his prison term until his death.....

It shows victory for Libya......
Justice was not served for the victims' families...

Trinidad West Indies

Keira   August 20th, 2009 7:25 pm ET

It's OK to show compassion but I'm sorry not to this guy. He killed over 200 people, where was his compassion then??? It's sickening that he gets the chance to 'die at home' when the people he killed don't have that chance. If feeling NO sympathy for this guy makes me a bad person, so be it. It's really appalling!

David kingsley   August 20th, 2009 7:25 pm ET

I dont care if Megrahi has barely a minute2live.He has committed a horrendous crime&as such he shouldnt be set loose on whatsoever grounds.U know what i think Hala,there's something Scotland isnt telling us.

Tausif Bashir   August 20th, 2009 7:31 pm ET

I disagree....if he showed no mercy to his victims does not mean we do not show mercy to him...thats what has gotten the world into this kind off a state...revenge and hatred....if we all start doing wat these terrorists do....then wat separates us from terrorists??

Rutton Kershaw   August 20th, 2009 7:44 pm ET

I agree with the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber, even though it may be very painful to relatives of the victims, the man has spent twenty years in prison and is dying. In a world torn by religious conflict, it will send a message to the Islamic world that the christian world is capable of compassion and forgiveness and that it is time to strive for peace and not hatred.

Joseph Mwamba   August 20th, 2009 8:08 pm ET

When this guy killed those people, he didn't show any compassion, but by releasing him, compassion has been shown to him. This proves that we are more human than him. We shouldn't even compare ourselves to this heartless man, unless if we are capable of his acts

Jasmine from Iran   August 20th, 2009 9:33 pm ET

How can they let go of someone like him? What are they thinking? This is a security treat. What if he now has not long to live he would think of becoming a suicide bomber and in his sick mind think that he would go to heaven and be served by Seven Vergins.

My heart goes to the families that lost loved ones at that crash.
How about being compassionate about their needs? Oh he has cancer so I guess it makes it OK for him to get away with MURDERS.

The western world Hippie's Compassionate Wildflowers attitude toward todays terrorists makes me sick and worried. They are putting us innocent people at such high risk. Oh an ofcourse lets not have such people at Guantama Bay because they should be treated with TLC. They deserve a lot of Love for how they have killed so many innocent people. Why doesn't the western world just send such people to SPA retreats at the expanse of all taxpayers. Oh and please do not force them to say anything they do not want to.
Seriously what is wrong with the western governments for protecting such Monsters

Jasmine from Iran   August 20th, 2009 9:38 pm ET

If a serial Killer or rappist was caught and convicted of a his /her crime would the government set him free because he / She has cancer. No because he will commit the same crime again.

This has nothing to do with compassion or if Christians are more forgiving. It is being stupied and placing lives of innocent people at risk.

Forbes McGregor   August 21st, 2009 4:28 am ET

Kenny MacAskill....U said it so well. It epitomises the Scottish values of which we are so proud. The decision should never be mistaken for softnesss or influenced by business interests. It simply reflects our nation's strong beliefs in humanitarianism and we are not driven by a revenge that can accomplish nothing.

An Expat Scot

Sayan Majumdar   August 21st, 2009 8:09 am ET

A very bad instance has been set by the Scottish government by freeing Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi on “compassionate grounds”.

Showing compassion towards a heartless ruthless criminal is a case of undeserved leniency.


jwpeu   August 21st, 2009 11:27 am ET

Interesting that so much comment is made by the US concerning the Scotish governments release of Ali Al Megrahi. But when is the US going to hand over Lois Possada Carriles, an (alleged) CIA operative, to Cuba or Venezuela who is wanted for the blowing up of the Cubana flight 455 on 6th October 1976, killing 76 people, and is residing in Miami

Helen   August 21st, 2009 1:27 pm ET

Life imprisonment means life imprisonment. It doesn't mean you get to be released because you are dying! The guy was lucky he didn't get the death sentence in the first place. Now he gets to go home to his family and enjoy the feast of the Ramadan? And for this guy to go home and be given a hero's welcome! The families of those who died in the Lockerbie Bombing have every right to be infuriated.

I think the Scottish government is soft on terrorists.

Omar Haleem   August 21st, 2009 3:52 pm ET

Well, now that he is back home, the quest should begin for finding out the real 'back' story behind the Lockerbie Bombings and who the culprits are, if this person was a fallguy then where are the real culprts?..Lockerbie needs to be Holmes?

John Macassey   August 21st, 2009 8:40 pm ET

The conviction of Megrahi was alway very suspect. Personally I believe he was innocent and simply a convenient fall guy.
I cant help comparing the US vengeful and angry reaction to his release to the US act in 1988 when the crew of the USS Vinciennes apparently callously shot down an A300 airliner killing 290 civillions including 66 children.
There never even an apology ( in fact President Bush was proudly quoted.
"I'll never apologize for the USA ever. I don't care what the facts are". The captain WC Rogers the 3rd was awarded the 'Legion of Merit and the whole crew 'Combat Action Ribbons'.
So please get this into some sort of perspective!

Adil   August 22nd, 2009 3:42 pm ET

I totally agree with John Macassey. It was shot down and no apology at all.

But i understand the anger towards his release and hero`s welcome

Evan   August 23rd, 2009 9:05 pm ET

Megrahi ended 270 lives, and destroyed hundreds of families. What good is a justice system if the criminal, no matter how heinous his act, knows that he will someday die as a hero in the comfort of his own home?
This debacle reminds me of the British justice system's treatment of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was released in 2000 on "humanitarian grounds" after his lawyers claimed that he was ill and had "weeks to live."
He went on to live more than six happy, prison-free years.

Kevin   August 24th, 2009 4:23 pm ET

I understand why Americans are upset about the release. Howwever, it has to be pointed out to them that Scotland is an independant country, where we dicide our own laws. The other interesting thing that has to be said is that over the last 20 – 30 years the American government has ignored, side stepped and flew in the face of international law. Some examples, nuclear arms in Isreal, government support for the most heanus dictator, your friend and ours Saddam hussain. There is always the drugs for Arms that Mr Reagan and Oliver North were invloved in. I get the feeling that if Scotland were a third world country we should probably be preparing for a "precesion bombing", there an oxymoron! It not a perfect thing to do but compasion is a big word and WE in the West have to be above those who would try to TERRORISE us.

Pietromp   August 24th, 2009 5:07 pm ET

What is this fuzz all about? At least they tried this guy with a jury and put him jail for some years. I know of two people that have commited crimes against humanity and one still lives in TX and the other one in WY, has anybody at least look into their "dark times"? Americans are too cowards to do that..!

sheila   August 24th, 2009 8:38 pm ET

While I do not ,for a second ,condone the release of the Lockerbie bomber,I really get sick of the hypocrisy in the US.Where was the condemnation of US citizens{Irish Americans?} who supported and sent funding to the IRA for decades!The IRA were terrorists who killed hundreds of innocent people.Where is the difference?

Jasmine from Iran   August 26th, 2009 9:33 am ET

I am not an American but why is it that the rest of the world always blamess US for their own shortcommings. Common the conspiracy theory is getting a big old.
Everytime some government / people in the rest of the does something terrible and they get questioned for it. They never answer and always say " Well US did this and that at this time. It has become second nature for developing countries especially. It is as if they want to justify their cruelty by saying that well US did this at some times.

Grow up and take responsibility for your actions.
It is very interesting that scotland has decided to show compassion to a Monster and not compassion to the families of people who died.

Common do you think we are that dumb? I am sure they must have been some political and financial gain from this.

nick stavros   August 30th, 2009 7:27 pm ET

We may never know whether Al-Megrahi actually did it, since he was sent home just as he won his appeal. Very interesting.

What we do know is that the perpetrators of the destruction of the civilian Iranian flight by the US Navy were never punished, the US never even apologized.

Are Iranian civilians less human? Where's the justice?

Jasmine from Iran   August 30th, 2009 10:23 pm ET


What happened to Iranian Civilians was terrible as well. But you do not have all the fact on how the matter was resolved between US and the Islamic Government of Iran. There was a subbstantial amount of money given to the Iranian government for their mistake. However ; i had not a cent of it was paid to the families of the people who lost their life by the Iranian government. The Iranian government let the whole thing slide because they got paid for it yet the families did not get a cent. My friend lost his father on that flight.
The second point was that the same Airline was flying on the path that they did not have the right to fly over. Planes can't just fly in every direction that they fly to. So it was very interesting that the Iranian government never even discussed it.
How about all the planes that are crashing in Iran now? We have sanction because of all the evil doing of our government so we are left with planes that are crashing few times a year.
To answer you question yes our government is nothing but short of Evil. And the rest of the world is underestimating what they are capable of and how they are contributing to all the caos in the middle east.

Do you have any idea how much money Iran gives to terrosit groups around the world while Iranians can's afford basic life requirements.

Leave Your Comment


Comments are moderated by CNN, in accordance with the CNN Comment Policy, and may not appear on this blog until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

International Desk brings viewers into the heart of the largest news gathering operation in the world. Viewers don't come here to watch the news; they come here to be immersed in it. To feel the rush of being the first to know what's happening as stories break, and to leave knowing they've gotten the best and latest information available. The show airs Mon-Fri at 1900 CET.

Powered by VIP