UK feared Col Gaddafi ‘could cut off its knees’ if Lockerbie bomber was not releasedDecember 8th, 2010 - 12:21 pm ICT by ANI
London, Dec 8 (ANI): Secret cables released by the whistleblower website ‘Wikileaks’ have revealed that Britain feared the fact that Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi could “cut us off at the knees, just like the Swiss”, if the Lockerbie bomber was not released.
According to the Telegraph, Vincent Fean, Britain’s ambassador to Tripoli at that time, also warned that continuing to hold Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi in a prison in Scotland could have “disastrous implications for British interests in Libya”.
Fifty-seven-year-old al-Megrahi was jailed in 2001 for the atrocity, which claimed 270 lives in 1988. He was allowed to return home to Libya to a hero’s welcome in August 2009.
The paper quoted one of the cables as saying that the British ambassador had expressed relief that Megrahi was likely to be returned on compassionate grounds.
“He noted that a refusal of Megrahi’s request could have had disastrous implications for British interests in Libya,” the leaked cable said.
It also quoted the ambassador as saying: “They could have cut us off at the knees, just like the Swiss.”
His warnings were a reference to Col Gaddafi’s call in 2008 for a jihad against Switzerland when police arrested his son Hannibal and daughter in law Aline Skaf, but the couple were released and charges relating to an altercation with their servants dropped, the paper said.
However, Libya responded by withdrawing billions of dollars from Swiss banks, cutting off oil supplies, denying visas and recalling diplomats.
At the time of Al-Megrahi’s release, Prime Minister Gordon Brown had said that the UK Government had played no role in the release. (ANI)
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Tags: altercation, atrocity, british ambassador, british interests, colonel muammar gaddafi, compassionate grounds, diplomats, fean, gordon brown, hannibal, jihad, libyan leader colonel muammar gaddafi, lockerbie, muammar gaddafi, oil supplies, prime minister gordon brown, skaf, swiss banks, tripoli, uk government