Monday, 19 July 2010

Clinton urges review of decision to release Libyan

[This is the headline over a report by the Associated Press news agency. It reads in part:]

The Obama administration has asked the Scottish and British governments to review the decision last summer to release the Libyan convicted in the Lockerbie airliner bombing.

In letters to US lawmakers, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the US was encouraging the Scottish and British authorities to review the underlying facts and circumstances leading to the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. (...)

Clinton's spokesman, PJ Crowley, told reporters Monday that such a review would provide reassurance about the credibility of the decision to free the Libyan on humanitarian grounds, but he doubted it would reverse the decision.

"Everybody has an interest in making sure that this was a decision that was made freely, based on the best information available and did not represent any inappropriate or skewed actions," Crowley said. (...)

[Mrs Clinton] said [in the letters to the four senators] US officials will continue to argue that al-Megrahi should not be a free man.

"To that end, we are encouraging the Scottish and British authorities to review again the underlying facts and circumstances leading to the release of al-Megrahi and to consider any new information that has come to light since his release," she wrote.

As to a possible BP link, Clinton wrote that she was aware of media reports on the subject, but said that the decision on whether to release al-Megrahi fell exclusively to the Scottish government under local law. Still, Clinton said she opposed the decision, "whatever the rationale."

[The full text of Secretary Clinton's letter can be read here.]


  1. Professor Black:
    Being an expert in Scots law, would you please answer the question as to whether or not the decision to release Megrahi might have been a reserved matter for consult with Westminster, considering it may be an international relations question / issue?

  2. The conclusion of a PTA with a foreign country is clearly a matter of international relations and so a reserved function. But the UK parliament has enacted that the decision on whether an individual prisoner should be transferred is a matter for the government authorities responsible for prisons in the part of the UK where the prisoner is serving his sentence -- in Scotland, the Scottish ministers. The UK parliament has legislated that this is a devolved matter.

  3. Just dangle the prospect of a UN Commission of Inquiry into the targeting of Bernt Carlsson on Pan Am Flight 103 in front of Frank Duggan, the four US Senators, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron and Daniel Kawczynski, and watch them all go scuttling away running for cover!

  4. A post on this blog dated 29 April 2009 "Prisoner transfer: the relevant legal provisions" is relevant:

  5. I cannot believe the level of distractions being provided by the UK Media to take the focus off the quest for the truth. One would actually think the UK Media were as determined as the the politicians and the Judiciary to ensure the truth stays buried.

  6. It's bizarre. Even my 93-year-old mother agrees she was aware "he didn't do it" from earlier media coverage.

    About 10 days ago, I brought up the subject in conversation with a cousin, only with regard to commenting that a passenger had missed that flight with his luggage on board, and they didn't unload so as not to lose the slot. I then mused, I've always wondered, if they had delayed to get his luggage off, would that bomb have gone off at 7.03, or 38 minutes after takeoff?

    She simply remarked, well, he didn't do it anyway.

    Why is this common knowledge being airbrushed out? It's a perfectly good controversy piece for any journalist to file.