Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Libyan-hired docs had no role in Lockerbie release

Doctors for convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had no role in the decision to release him last year on compassionate grounds because of prostate cancer, according to information from Scotland authorities Tuesday.

Three doctors hired by Libyan authorities to assess al Megrahi "played no part of any kind in the decision on compassionate release," according to the information provided on background by a Scottish government official.

Al Megrahi was given three months to live when he was set free by Scotland last year to return home to Libya.

He is still alive today, and four US senators from New York and New Jersey are demanding answers from Scotland on details of the decision to release him. (...)

In a letter Tuesday, the four Democratic senators -- Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, and Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York -- asked the Scottish government to release al Megrahi's full medical records.

"We understand that an extensive medical record was used as the basis of the decision to release Mr. al Megrahi, but only one three-page medical document with redactions has been released by the Scottish government," wrote the senators. "Independent examination of Mr. al Megrahi's complete medical record is necessary in order to understand the circumstances surrounding his compassionate release."

A Scottish government spokesman told CNN on Tuesday that the senators' letter had been received, and there would be a response in due course.

Additional information provided on background concluded that a three-month prognosis for al Megrahi was a reasonable estimate, said Dr. Andrew Fraser, the director of health and care of the Scottish Prison Service.

Fraser's assessment was the medical report submitted to the justice secretary, along with reports from the Parole Board and the prison governor, according to the information, which also said all the reports supported a compassionate release of al Megrahi.

It said Fraser relied on advice from various cancer specialists and denied media reports that the decision was based on the opinion of one doctor.

According to the information, the assessments by the three doctors hired by Libya -- identified as Ibrahim Sherif, Karol Sikora and Jonathan Waxman -- were never considered by Fraser.

[From a report on the CNN website.]


  1. I am certain these records are covered by Data Protection and cannot be released without Megrahi's permission. MacAskill had the right to access to those records leading up his decision. The US and the wider public in Scotland and the UK, including the ill-informed James Kelly of the Labour Party, do not have that right. I do hope Mr Kelly's constituents take note that he is all for making medical records public on request! Maybe Mr Kelly could also get a quick crash course from his bosses in London about Data Protection. They used it to support withholding evidence needed for Megrahi's appeal.

    It is also worth repeating Doctors who were part of Megrahi's treatment Team have the absolute right to remain anonymous for their own safety. They could be put at risk if they were named. That is why their names were blanked out on the reports.

    As for these senators, it is also worth repeating that their status in this debate is zero. They have no jurisdiction here and I think it is time the First Minister took this up a notch and told them to go and dig up votes some other way and take their noses out of the affairs of other countries.

  2. I'll have to check the comments and follow up on this. Will anyone in the US admit that everyone here was epically confused on whose decision this was?