‘Decision to release Lockerbie bomber wrong and misguided’

July 25th, 2010 - 6:24 am ICT by IANS  

London, July 25 (IANS) The release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi from a prison in Scotland last year was “wrong” and “misguided”, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Saturday.
In a letter to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hague wrote: “I believe that the decision to release Megrahi was a mistake, and I am profoundly aware of the fact that every day this convicted murderer is not serving out his sentence in the Scottish prison adds to the grief and pain of those who lost loved ones in the Lockerbie tragedy.”

“At the same time, I believe we have a responsibility to address the unsubstantiated rumours that there was some sort of conspiracy involving BP which led to Megrahi’s release,” he was quoted as saying in the letter by Xinhua.

The US Senate will hold an inquiry next week into the release of al-Megrahi, who was freed by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds in August 2009 and alleged links with oil giant British Petroleum.

The Scottish government released al-Megrahi, who is the only person to be convicted for the Lockerbie tragedy in which 270 people died, on compassionate grounds after medical experts said he had only three months to live.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond had earlier this week written to the US Senate committee saying his government had not been lobbied by BP over al-Megrahi.

Hague, in his letter, defended both the devolved Scottish government and the main British government from allegations that they had been influenced by BP in the decision to release al-Megrahi.

Hague wrote: “There is no evidence that corroborates in any way the allegation of BP’s involvement in the Scottish Executive’s entirely separate decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds in 2009, nor any suggestion that the Scottish executive decided to release him on compassionate grounds in order to facilitate oil deals for BP.”

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