Lockerbie bomber’s release ‘vindicated’

The Scottish government insists it has been “vindicated” two years to the day since the controversial decision to release the Lockerbie bomber from jail on compassionate grounds.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was said to be three months from death when he was freed from Greenock jail in August 2009.

The decision by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill sparked international condemnation from some relatives of victims and politicians, including US President Barack Obama – but also attracted high-profile support from figures such as Nelson Mandela.

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Now, two years on, with Megrahi still alive in his home country, a spokesman for Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond defended the release.

Senior figures in the American, British and Scottish jurisdictions have all agreed that the decision was taken in good faith, the spokesman said.

“Two years of extensive scrutiny, under three jurisdictions, vindicates the position that the Justice Secretary released al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds alone, based on the rules and regulations of Scots law and the reports of the Parole Board for Scotland, the Prison Governor and the Scottish Prison Service director of health and care Dr Andrew Fraser – all of which have been published,” he added.

Dr Fraser’s report, the only publicly available document on Megrahi’s health, describes the three-month prognosis as “reasonable”.