US team meet Scottish Government

Lockerbie Bomber

By Michael Heggie

Talks between the Scottish government and representatives of a US Senate committee investigating the release of the Lockerbie bomber have been described as “amicable”.

 The Senate Foreign Relations committee held a hearing on the bomber’s release, chaired by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, and US officials met justice representatives from the Scottish Government.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi was freed on compassionate grounds in August 2009 as he was thought to have only three months to live due to terminal prostate cancer, outraging the US government and many relatives of Lockerbie victims.

The team representing Senator Robert Menendez is carrying out an inquiry into whether the decision to release Megrahi was linked to an oil deal. However, the committee did not meet Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who made the decision to free Megrahi.

Scottish Labour’s justice spokesman, Richard Baker, held his own meeting with the US delegation.

Baker told the delegation that the senators’ investigation should focus on the medical advice given to the minister and called for it to be made public.

He said: “I told the delegation that I felt that any conjecture about oil or trade with this case did not hold up to detailed scrutiny.

“Their focus needs to be on the man who made the decision to release Scotland’s worst mass murderer and the evidence that the man who released him now relies on.”