Friday, 20 August 2010

Salmond: 'nothing to hide' on Megrahi release

[This is the headline over a report on the Channel 4 News website. It reads in part:]

First Minister Alex Salmond told Channel 4 News that Scotland had "nothing to hide" in the 22-year period since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988, when a US plane blew up over the Scottish town, killing 270 people.

He also defended the decision, taken one year ago, to release al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds. (...)

Mr Salmond said that he had received a letter from four US senators today which raised the issue again of commercial interests motivating al-Megrahi's release. (...)

Mr Salmond said: "I had a letter today which, despite all the evidence to the contrary, despite everyone knowing the Scottish government's vigorous public and private opposition to the prisoner transfer agreement with Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi and all of that stuff, claims of deals with BP and the rest of get a letter from people who suggest that we were somehow involved in that is simply incredible." (...)

The US senators want to hold their own inquiry amid concerns that al-Megrahi's release was tied to a BP oil deal with Libya - a suggestion that has been strongly denied by all parties involved.

There have also been renewed calls for an inquiry into the 2001 conviction itself, with pressure group Justice for Megrahi claiming he may have been the victim of a "spectacular miscarriage of justice."

Mr Salmond said that, if there were to be any international inquiry into the al-Megrahi case by an independent authority such as the United Nations, his country and his government would co-operate fully.

"If there was to be an international inquiry into this case, then of course the Scottish government would fully co-operate. We have nothing to fear and nothing to hide in the way we have conducted this case under Scottish jurisdiction over the last 20 years," he said.

He also backed the original decision of Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, based on the medical report from Dr Andrew Fraser, to release al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

"Any doctor can only judge the patient in front of him," he said. "Al-Megrahi is suffering from terminal prostate cancer and he will die of that condition...Most people will know from their own experience of people who have contracted cancer where they have exceeded their life expectancy prognosis, and lived for longer."


  1. An STV article today
    cites The Ipsos/Mori poll of 1013 people showed 54% disgreed with the decision to allow Abdelbaset al Megrahi to return home to Libya to die, with 35% agreeing
    The article also includes a video w/ some clips from the STV documentary recently aired.

  2. Confucius say, "Man who posts fortune cookie drivel on this blog get deleted - and so does man who comment on fortune cookie post."

  3. Interesting. What is to be concluded from such a poll and its result?

  4. I am still waiting for a poll to include the question,

    "Do you think there may have been a miscarriage of justice?"

    and perhaps,

    "Do you think it would be in the interests of justice for the conviction, with what the Review Commission called new evidence, to be examined with the depth of an appeal?".

    Not quite sure how to make the second one both short and useful.

    The results of a poll on the release would seem to me a bit lacking in meaning without either of those.

    Another question people might consider in a poll or otherwise, when thinking what to answer above:

    "Do you believe that there is evidence not heard at trial that is still secret?"

  5. Bunntamas: That poll you bring to people's attention is interesting (I looked at the full results on the Ipsos/Mori poll web site).
    The results look even more bleak for public support for Megrahi's release when you look at the people with strong views; 'strongly disagree with decision to release' = 45%, 'strongly agree with decision to release' = 20%.
    I wonder if such a one-sided STV documentary the week before helped form opinion on this subject?