MSPs attack Lockerbie bomber release

By staff

A “divisive” Holyrood report has condemned the Scottish government’s decision to free Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi last summer.

The Scottish parliament’s justice committee was forced to rely on majority voting as it concluded that it is “extremely concerned” by some aspects of the decision-making process.

Megrahi, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, was freed on August 20th by Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill.

Today’s report found that “uncertain” advice from the Scottish Prison Service was “unsatisfactory” and said it was “inappropriate” for Mr MacAskill to have visited Megrahi in prison beforehand.

“I believe this is a useful report that sets out fairly the arguments on all the main issues that arose in the inquiry,” committee convenor Bill Aitken said.

“It will now be for all MSPs and others with an interest in this issue to read the report and make up their own minds.”

Mr MacAskill cited medical advice that Megrahi had only three months to live as the basis for his decision, which was made on compassionate grounds. He has not yet died, having returned to his native Libya immediately after being freed.

Megrahi was sentenced to a minimum term of 25 years in 2001 for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988.

Two hundred and seventy people died in what remains the worst ever terrorist attack in Britain.