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More calls for probe into BP role in al-Megrahi release

16 July 2010

The Scottish Government has been forced to deny claims that it was subject to pressure from the embattled oil giant BP, to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, convicted of the 1988 bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie.

Led by four Democrat senators, pressure has mounted in recent weeks for a US investigation into BP’s possible role in al-Megrahi’s controversial release on compassionate grounds. These calls reached a crescendo yesterday, with the company’s admission that it had pressed for the UK government to set up a prisoner-transfer agreement with Libya, though it has denied any involvement in al-Megrahi’s actual release last August.

Meanwhile, breaking with the largely neutral line taken by the previous Westminster Government, the UK ambassador to Washington last night branded Megrahi’s release "a mistake".

In a statement released through the Foreign Office, Sir Nigel Sheinwald commented: "The new British government is clear that Megrahi's release was a mistake.

"However, under UK law, where Scottish justice issues are devolved to Scotland, it fell solely to the Scottish Executive to consider Megrahi's case. Under Scottish law, Megrahi was entitled to be considered for release on compassionate grounds."

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Just another day

Friday July 16, 2010, 13:18

If the law calls for it then I fail to see how it can be called "a mistake".