Hague denies BP link to Lockerbie bomber release

By politics.co.uk staff

William Hague has rejected claims that BP intervened in the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to aid a Libya oil deal.

The energy giant, under attack following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, is also attracting criticism from some quarters in the US about its alleged involved in Megrahi’s release last August.

Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill made the decision to release the terminally ill Libyan on compassionate grounds last August.

He was expected to live for just three months and was treated to a hero’s welcome on his return to Tripoli. Megrahi is believed to still be alive.

Mr Hague made clear the present government opposed the release but, in a letter to US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, said London had to respect Edinburgh’s decision on the issue.

“I know there has been much speculation over the connection between the conversations the previous British government had with BP over their interests in Libya, and the Scottish decision to release Megrahi,” the foreign secretary wrote.

“There is no evidence that corroborates in any way the allegations of BP involvement in the Scottish executive’s decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds in 2009, nor any suggestion that the Scottish executive decided to release Megrahi in order to facilitate oil deals for BP.”

Megrahi had served eight years of a 27-year sentence after being convicted in 2001.

He was the only terrorist found guilty of the Lockerbie bombing, the worst ever terrorist attack perpetrated in Britain. Two hundred and seventy people died on December 21st 1988 when an explosion destroyed Pan Am flight 103.