Al-Megrahi has prostate cancer, an illness that may well see him die before his appeal can be heard in court. This possibility is strengthened as a result of the judge on the case, Lord Wheatley, undergoing heart surgery and needing months to recover.
We've heard of the blind the leading the blind, well the sick judging the sick is just as regrettable.
Scotland needs to show the world that it's not the type of country that will lock someone up just for the sake of it. Justice delayed is indeed justice denied and for as long as there are question marks over the Al-Megrahi trial and for as long as it takes for Lord Wheatley to recover from illness, the Libyan prisoner should be free to spend some of his last precious weeks and months with his family.
I hope the discussions that Kenny MacAskill had with Libyan officials today result in the Justice Secretary making a decision on compassionate and common sense grounds that al-Megrahi's little time remaining is better served with his family than in Greenock prison.