Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

US knew British ministers advised Libya on 'compassionate release' for Lockerbie bomber

A Wikileaks cable discloses that a British government minister advised Libya on how to obtain the 'compassionate release' of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, and that the United States was aware of that advice.
A Foreign Office minister sent Libyan officials detailed legal advice on how to use Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s cancer diagnosis to ensure he was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.

The Duke of York is also said to have played a behind-the-scenes role in encouraging the terrorist’s release.

The Libyans closely followed the advice which led to the controversial release of Megrahi – who was convicted of the murder of 270 passengers on Pan Am Flight 103 – within months of the Foreign Office’s secret intervention.

The disclosure seriously undermines British Government claims that is was not complicit in the release of al-Megrahi, and that the decision to free the convicted terrorist was taken by the Scottish Executive alone.

It will also lead to renewed pressure from senior American politicians on David Cameron to release all internal documents detailing Britain’s role in the scandal. Last summer, the Prime Minister pledged to release the relevant information – but the publication has yet to occur sparking fears that a cover-up may have been ordered.


In October 2008 – as negotiations on the prisoner transfer agreement were ongoing –Megrahi was diagnosed as suffering from cancer.

It can now be disclosed that within a week of the diagnosis, Bill Rammell, a junior Foreign Office minister, had written to his Libyan counterpart advising him on how this could be used as the grounds of securing al-Megrahi’s compassionate release from prison.

Rob Dixon, a senior Foreign Office official, met with the American Ambassador to brief him on the letter. An official American memo on the meeting states: “FCO Minister for the Middle East Bill Rammell sent Libyan Deputy FM Abdulati al-Obeidi a letter, which was cleared both by HMG and by the Scottish Executive, on October 17 outlining the procedure for obtaining compassionate release.

“It cites Section 3 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act of 1993 as the basis for release of prisoners, on license, on compassionate grounds. Although the Scottish Crown informed the families of the Pan Am 103 victims in an email October 21 that the time frame for compassionate release is normally three months from time of death, Dixon stressed to us that the three month time frame is not codified in the law.”

Mr Dixon went on to disclose to the Americans that Jack Straw, the then Justice Secretary, had also spoken to Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister about the case which had led Government officials to believe that the terrorist would be released.

The minute of the meeting with the Americans records: “Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond told Jack Straw that he will make the final decision in this case. Salmond told Straw that he would make the decision based on humanitarian grounds, not foreign policy grounds; Dixon told us HMG has interpreted this to mean that Salmond is inclined to grant the request.”

Following the meeting, the American Ambassador reported back to his superiors in Washington said that the release of al-Megrahi could “occur sooner rather than later” and that Whitehall officials were handling sensitive negotiations with the Libyans on the issue.

Later documents also disclose that the Qatari government, one of the richest in the world, also became involved in the effort to secure al-Megrahi’s release. The Americans thought that the Qataris may have offered financial incentives to the Scottish Government. The Libyans are also recorded to have offered a “parade of treats” to the Scottish government.

A senior Qatari minister visited Scotland to discuss the case.
Read the whole thing.

Simply disgusting.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home