Britain told US not to intervene in Lockerbie bomber release: Wikileaks

April 11th, 2011 - 6:08 pm ICT by ANI  

David Cameron London, Apr 11 (ANI): Britain’s envoy to the US had told America last year that it should not stop the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset-al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison, reveals the whistle blowing website, Wikileaks.

Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald told US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, that he was “concerned” about demands of victims’ families unduly influencing US policy.

His comments came during critical negotiations over whether al-Megrahi, who was convicted for the murder of 270 passengers on Pan Am Flight 103, should be switched to a Libyan jail to serve the remainder of his sentence.

According to The Telegraph, the cable, obtained by WikiLeaks states: “Sheinwald asked that the US continue to consult with the UK in the possible transfer of ailing Pan Am bomber Abdel-Basset al-Megrahi from the UK to Libya.”

“Sheinwald cited concern that the Pan Am victims’ families were asking for direct US intervention to stop the transfer. He asked that the United States delay “for a few days” any intervention with the Scottish authorities, who will ultimately decide on the transfer,” it added.

He was firmly rebuffed by Deputy Secretary Steinberg. The cable states: “The Deputy Secretary said the UK Government needed to understand the sensitivities in this case, and noted he was acutely aware of the concerns of Lockerbie victim’s groups from his previous time in government.”

Al-Megrahi was controversially released on compassionate grounds seven months later after being diagnosed with cancer.

A diplomatic cable also reveals how the London secretly advised Libyan officials on how to use Megrahi’s cancer diagnosis to ensure he was freed from a Scottish prison.

A week later, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron released previous Cabinet Office documents relating to the release, which confirmed that the Labour government did “all it could” to make sure al-Megrahi, was released. (ANI)

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