UK helped Libya secure Lockerbie bomber’s release: Secret documents

February 6th, 2011 - 2:47 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 6 (ANI): Secret documents have revealed that British ministers had arranged to meet their Libyan counterparts to give them advice on how the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi’s could be released from a Scottish prison.

The latest revelation is a contrast to earlier claims by the Labour government that it did not “interfere” in the proceedings of al-Megrahi’s release, and that the decision was taken solely by the Scot Government.

British Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell is expected to order the publication of official papers surrounding Megrahi’s release this week. However, it is expected that some key passages will be redacted, The Telegraph reports.

Earlier disclosed internal Whitehall emails, had shown the extent of the British government’s involvement in the matter. It had claimed that two British ministers had arranged to meet Libyan representatives within weeks of Megrahi being diagnosed with cancer while still in prison, and added that one minister met the Libyans at least three times.

The British Government had provided detailed legal advice to the Libyans twice on how to secure Megrahi’s release, it was claimed.

US secret diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks had revealed last week how within weeks of Megrahi first being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2008, Bill Rammell, the Middle East and North Africa minister, wrote to his Libyan counterpart on how the development could be used as the grounds of securing his release.

It is also claimed that Kim Howells, the Middle East minister, had arranged to meet Libyan officials on October 6, 2008, a month after Megrahi was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

An internal email from the Foreign Office (FCO) to the Scotland Office and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) states: “We are happy for Dr Howells to be in listening mode when he meets the Libyans on Monday. I suggest that he simply undertakes to relay any Libyan concerns to Scottish Ministers.”

The British Government’s help appears to have given Libya confidence to begin lobbying of the Scottish Executive. Libya applied for Megrahi’s release under a PTA in May 2009. Two months later Megrahi submitted an application for compassionate release, the paper said.

Andrew Bridgen, the Conservative party’s spokesman on Lockerbie, said: “The more that we learn about Megrahi’s release, the murkier this whole affair becomes.” (ANI)

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