24/08/2011 Newsnight Scotland


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Tonight on Newsnight Scotland, what should happen next to the Lockerbie


bomber? Two years ago world leaders were at pains to point out that his


release on compassionate grounds was down to the Scottish legal


system so what basis do US senators have for his extradition and on


what grounds does Nick Clegg think al-Megrahi should be put back


behind bars, as he suggested today? You will hear from two top players


with wildly different views. Lord Foulkes claims it is


discrimination to charge students from the rest of the UK to a 10


Scottish universities, especially when you are macro students do not


have to pay. Is he right? -- especially when EU students do not


have to pay. The Lockerbie bomber was released


on compassionate grounds on the condition that to be maintained


contact with authorities in Scotland. The turmoil in Libya has


made that difficult, so there are increasing calls for al-Megrahi to


be brought back to the UK or to face trial in the USA. Are either


of those options legal and is it This is Tripoli. This city where


al-Megrahi has been living for the last two years, a city that is now


way war-zone. So far there has been no contact with al-Megrahi.


Internet and phone connections are not reliable. This has led Nick


Clegg to repeat his calls to have the Lockerbie bomber brought back


to Britain. I personally would like to see al-Megrahi behind bars.


Whatever we think, he was convicted in a court of law for one of the


most atrocious terrorist acts that this country has ever seen. But at


the end of the day, this is an issue for the Scottish Government


and this got his Government alone. With the Scottish Government


standing by its decision, Nick Clegg is not going to get his wish.


Legally, has got his Government has not have much option anyway.


Lawyers say it is not likely that al-Megrahi will be brought back to


Scotland and Lesley reoffenders. Calls from the USA to extradite him,


that would not be that simple. would be extremely unusual and very


much frowned upon if any legal system claimed the right to try


somebody twice for a crime for which they have already been


convicted, and indeed punishment has been set. That is the case with


al-Megrahi, even though he has been released on compassionate grounds.


Attempts by authorities to contact al-Megrahi in the past couple of


days have not been successful but that does not necessarily mean he


is breaching the conditions of his release. The last conversation


happened on August 8th. On average there is contact on a monthly basis.


Enormous situation they would not expect to speak to him for another


couple of weeks. -- in a normal situation. The medical reports are


up to date. We are satisfied that he is in Tripoli but clearly it is


a war-zone and we will continue to reach him, if we can. He has been


seen at a pro-Gaddafi rally, evidence that he has breached his


bail conditions. How important is the fate of al-Megrahi in the UK?


For all that Nick Clegg wants to see him behind bars, there is


little evidence that the UK Government is actively pursuing


this. At the Security Council meeting in Downing Street today,


al-Megrahi was not even mentioned once. Nobody knows how this story


will end for al-Megrahi, but attention is already turning to


something else. Gaddafi's links to the Lockerbie bombing are already


being investigated by the USA and those looking for reasons behind


the terrorist attack may be more interested in Gaddafi than the man


behind the crime. I am joined by Geoffrey Robinson QC and Gordon


Jackson, former MSP. What do you think should happen to al-Megrahi?


Well, what should happen to Colonel Gaddafi is more important. There is


now increased evidence that he is guilty of giving the orders to al-


Megrahi to blow up the jet. Should we have an agreement between Libya,


the USA and Scotland? And when Gaddafi is delivered, as I hope he


will be, to the international criminal court, there should be a


claim to try him first. As for al- Megrahi, the Americans are making


is ludicrous claim that he should be extradited to stand trial again.


That is contrary to international law. Al-Megrahi has been given a


fair trial, before no less than eight Scottish judges of great


eminence, who found him guilty. So there is no question of extraditing


him. He has been convicted. The problem is that contrary to the


promise that Robin Cook, as the UK foreign secretary, gave to


Madeleine Albright that he had served 27 years, this extraordinary


behaviour of the Scottish minister who seems to have been conned by


doctors paid by the Libyans into thinking that al-Megrahi would die


in three months gave him a statutory compassionate release.


There are two reasons why I think Nick Clegg is right and he should


be brought back. One is that those doctors were so wrong that there


must be a question over their diagnosis. He has been alive for


two years. He should be brought back and probably examined by


independent doctor that are not paid by the Libyans. The second


reason is that he has been out there demonstrating in favour of


Gaddafi. In any system if he is under probation that counts as a


matter that should raise questions about him. I think the Scottish


Court of Appeal said on November 14th, 2009, that if he was ill,


they were prepared to release him to a bail hostel. That is the


proper place he should be. right, let's come on to Gaddafi in


a moment. What do you think should have the do al-Megrahi? The claim


that that the medical evidence all came from Libyan paid doctors would


be disputed. It would be disputed. He is on licence and that licence


could theoretically be revoked. It would have to be on the


recommendation of the Parole Board and I see no chance of that


happening. I don't think the Scottish Government would give into


that kind of pressure. We have no evidence that he has breached a


thing. He may have been at a rally, but how he could have said he would


not come to the rally to Gaddafi is not realistic. I do not think it is


remotely likely that we will revoke its licence and try to bring him


back. Theoretically possible but not practical. What about Gaddafi?


If there is evidence that Gaddafi was also responsible for that


bombing, Denshaw, put him on trial, why not? -- then sure. Who should?


We should, the Scottish courts. If the Scottish courts were properly


able to try the other two men, then we should try Gaddafi as well if


there is evidence that he is responsible and I think the Crown


Office would be up for doing that and there is no legal obstacle to


doing so. You seem to agree that the Scottish judicial system should


try to prosecute Gaddafi. Indeed. Given that he has already been


indicted by the ICC, how does that work? Who has priority? Would the


ICC Goathurst and then the Scottish judicial system? -- go first?


likely heard is that Gaddafi will be strung up from the nearest lamp-


post. He has already got a reward on his head. If he is captured


alive, he will be transferred to the Hague, the international


criminal court. At court has the power to release him to another


country to try him first for another atrocity. There are going


to be two countries that want him. We will want him and Scotland


should try him under the agreement, as my learned colleague says. There


is increased evidence now, the former justice minister says he has


evidence of his guilt. But the French will want him because six


months after he did the Lockerbie bombing, he ordered the destruction


of a passenger aeroplane over Chad with 170 casualties. The French


tried to prosecute him in absentia a few years ago. They said they


could not. They ruled that he was immune because he was head of state


so he had head of state immunity. He no longer his head of state so


he can be prosecuted in France for that. Scotland and France will be


contesting who should go first. He should be prosecuted for those


crimes and then prosecuted by the ICC with his son for the ICC


indictment. I must say that I find it bewildering that the spotted


probation officer could not recall him. I think there might have to be


legal proceedings to require them to do their duty because the man


has been a propaganda agent for the Gaddafi regime. In the background,


the politics of it. Another Barney has broken out today. Gordon Brown


releasing letters claiming that he did not know the British Government


had any policy, if it did, to facilitate the release of al-


The decision was the decision of the Scottish government and whether


his licence will be we float will be up to the Scottish government.


UK politics cannot play a part in it. Scotland was made a laughing-


stock. How busier -- How dare up a single minister, without talking to


the relatives whose loved ones were blown up, make such a decision. The


whole thing poor of fast enough to shame over Scotland. If the


minister has any will but, he will use the opportunity to revisit the


situation. Very briefly. A I do not accept that. I understand why


people think it was the wrong decision. It was made sincerely. It


is not relevant. We cannot simply for political reasons revoked his


licence. Thank you. We will have to leave it there. Lord Foulkes of


Cumnock has described the Scottish government's plans on tuition fees


as unfair and discriminatory and is proposing an amendment to the


Scotland Bill to stop them. From next year, students from the rest


of the UK who want to study in Scotland could be charged tuition


fees of up to �9,000 a year. Earlier this week a human rights


law firm said they are planning to challenge the decision on the basis


it breaches equality laws, especially since those from other


parts of the EU won't have to pay anything.


This is a classic example of devolution producing consequences


that is the stuff of a huge political row. It is unfair that


22,500 students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland his study in


Scotland should pay �9,000 a year in fees. They are British students.


Students from any other part of the EU can study for nothing. Lord


Foulkes of Cumnock describes it as an injustice that discriminate


against the English. The Scottish government says it has no choice


under European lot but to allow students from other EU countries to


study for free. That is because it cannot discriminate against


citizens from other EU students. But because students from England,


Wales and Northern Ireland are not from another European country, they


can charge them. The Government can also point out that although the


SNP's support the policy of tuition free higher education, the policy


was introduced by Labour and the Liberal Democrats when they were


running Scotland and the policy was supported by Labour in the last


Scottish election. And as you can see, in the studio


with me now is the former MSP Lord Foulkes of Cumnock and for the SNP


the Education Committee Convener Stewart Maxwell. What exactly is


your argument? I think it is discriminatory and unfair that


students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland should have to pay


huge fees, �9,000 a year, while students coming from European


countries like Lithuania and Poland will pay the same as Scottish


students. This is having to be done because the SNP government had cut


the grants to universities and this is the way of making extra money.


Hang on. This division was brought in by your lot, not the SNP.


wasn't. Of course there was. Liberal Democrats insisted and you


went along with it. I am in favour of no tuition fees in Scotland. The


Liberals are and so are their SNP. So, we let everyone in for nothing?


If we are letting Polish and Lithuanian students, then so should


be English, Welsh and Irish students. There is a legal argument


about European law, but for a lot of people, on the face of it, they


would probably agree with George. It doesn't seem right that a


student from Ukraine can pay nothing to go to a Scottish


university, but a student from down the road will have to pay. It seems


wrong. I support the idea there should not be any tuition fees for


any student in the UK. Labour introduced it and the Conservatives


and Lib Dems have increased it. We have had no choice but to introduce


fees here. I want to put you something George's not saying. You


are suggesting that a Scottish government should waive the fees


for English students it it is going to do the same for other European


students. We cannot afford it. It cost in the region of �75 million.


The fact is that the fault lies with the UK government for


introducing these fees in the first place. The Scottish government is


responsible for Scottish, so students. We want to make education


free at the point of use. Strangely enough, you voted in favour of


tuition fees at every opportunity when you're in the Scottish


parliament. Labour in Scotland and Liberal Democrat in Scotland


support you on this, but you are in favour of an independent Scotland.


By irony is, if you achieve that, then Wales, Northern Ireland and


England, all the students would come in three. They would be the


same as students from Lithuania, Poland and France. I look forward


to that. Why are you saying, if there is an independent Scotland,


they can come in free. But if they are part of the Union, you would


charge them. We are not saying that. The Scottish government has been in


negotiation with the European Union to close this loophole so we can


charge a fee to European students. It is unfair that they can come in


and we are trying to resolve that. Scottish students can go to Poland,


France, Germany on the same basis... Sorry to interrupt. No matter which


way you cut it, whether you blame the British government for


introducing tuition fees or whether you blame the Scottish government


for not going along with that and keeping the same system across the


UK, Labour was responsible for both of those decisions. It was Labour


who introduced the tuition fees in England and decided not to have won


in Scotland. But I'm giving the UK parliament the opportunity to say


we can change the law so that students from England, Wales and


Northern Ireland will be treated the same way as students from other


countries in the European Union. But Welsh government is defending


were students. The Scottish government is defending Scottish


students. You need to have your argument with the UK government.


am trying to defend students from every part of the United Kingdom.


know you too can sit there all night, but the programme is


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