Saturday, 24 July 2010

Kenny MacAskill rejects Lockerbie plea

[This is the headline over a report on the BBC News website. It reads in part:]

Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has again refused to attend a US senate hearing over the release of the Lockerbie bomber. (...)

Mr MacAskill said the only documents which the Scottish government had not already put in the public domain were correspondence with the US government.

A US senator has "pleaded" with the Scottish government to appear before the hearing next week. (...)

Mr MacAskill told the BBC the Scottish government had not yet received Mr Lautenberg's letter, but had received one from New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate's foreign affairs committee, who had asked for further information.

He said: "The point has already been made quite clear by the First Minister of Scotland - I am the justice secretary of Scotland, I am elected by the people of Scotland and I am answerable to the parliament of Scotland.

"I have been made available and co-operated with enquiries both in the Scottish Parliament and in Westminster, and that is where jurisdiction lies."

Mr MacAskill said he would be happy to provide Mr Menendez with the information he had requested, which the Scottish government had already published on the internet.

He added: "The only matter that remains outstanding is communications between the American government and ourselves.

"The only reason that has not been published is that the American government has refused to give us consent to publish it.

"If Senator Menendez, and indeed Senator Lautenberg, wish to lobby or persuade the United States government to allow the release of that information, we will publish it forthwith."

[If the claim in the editorial in The Herald is correct that the letter from the US State Department to the Scottish Government effectively accepts the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi on compassionate grounds as preferable to repatriation under the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, it is unlikely -- in a mid-term election year -- that the US government would consent to its release or that Democrat senators would seriously try to persuade it to do so.]


  1. Why justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has refused to attend a important US senate hearing on 29 July 2010 ?
    Because MacAskill must have large fear before unknown evidence, which submits US senators to him. It can become interesting in 5 days...
    by ebol

  2. I think the Americans have more to fear about a full Inquiry into Lockerbie than anyone. These guys should keep going. Every time they open their mouths the calls for a full independent Inquiry into Lockerbie grow louder.

  3. Regarding the bit about the US State Department accepting that compassionate release was preferable to prisoner transfer, I'm sure that was something said back last August when it all blew up to begin with.

    I've got one second-hand reference on the BBC web site, when the Scottish government was replying to criticism from Robert Mueller, dated 22nd August 2009.

    The US authorities indicated that although they were opposed to both prisoner transfer and compassionate release, they made it clear that they regarded compassionate release as far preferable to the transfer agreement, and Mr Mueller should be aware of that.

    This is what the Herald is referring to - it's not a recent publication, it's reaction from before they'd decided to be outraged by Megrahi's failure to die and that he'd caused the Gulf oil spill.