Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Officials to meet over Megrahi

Officials are to meet over the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, it has been confirmed

Justice officials from the Scottish Government will meet on Thursday with representatives of a US Senate committee investigating the release of the Lockerbie bomber, it has been confirmed.

The meeting will be held in Edinburgh, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is the only person to be convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland, in which 270 people died - most of them Americans.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill released the Libyan on compassionate grounds after he was given three months to live but he remains alive today.

His release 13 months ago sparked fury in America and has been condemned by Barack Obama's administration.

An inquiry investigating the release has been launched by the Committee on Foreign Relations, which is made up of US Senators.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: "We can confirm that officials will have a meeting on Thursday afternoon in Edinburgh."

US politicians want to investigate concerns that the bomber's release was linked to an oil deal - a suggestion strongly denied by all parties involved. Mr MacAskill and his former UK counterpart Jack Straw declined to attend the inquiry as witnesses.

Earlier this month the Scottish Government pledged to make officials available to meet committee staff.

First Minister Alex Salmond made the offer in a letter to the committee dated September 10 and released on Sunday. It called on the committee to confirm it accepts the Scottish Government's compassionate release of Megrahi was made on judicial grounds alone.

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