[The following are excerpts from a report recently published on The Guardian website. Although Alex Salmond's remarks were made on a BBC radio programme, this account is fuller than what appears on the BBC News website.]
The allegations were dismissed by the Scottish government as "diplomatic tittle tattle". Salmond said: "We weren't interested in threats, we weren't interested in blandishments, we were only interested in applying Scots justice and that's what we did." (...)
The cables, released by WikiLeaks, also report Salmond telling the US consul to Edinburgh that the Libyans had offered him "a parade of treats" if Megrahi was released early, "all of which were turned down". It was denied today that such offers were made.
Salmond told the BBC: "Frankly I don't believe anybody seriously believes that the Scottish government acted in anything other than the precepts of Scots justice. And incidentally this information – as opposed to what it suggests perhaps about other people – vindicates and bears out that position."
Asked whether it now seemed right to have released Megrahi – who was said to have only three months to live but is still alive 16 months later – Salmond said: "I'm sorry, that's not the law. The law of Scotland is that a reasonable estimate is provided by senior medical officers and then acted upon by ministers, under the advice of the parole board, the prison service and a range of other interests. That's what was done."
Of the Guardian's revelations, Salmond said: "At the time you'll remember the UK government gave the impression that they either had no opinion on the release of Mr Megrahi or had no other factors concerned. I would have thought that the most interesting thing about this information is it shows that the UK government at the time – that's the then Labour government – were extremely keen to have Mr Megrahi released. Now, I've said this all along."
He went on: "We were clearly the only ones playing with a straight bat and interested in applying the precepts of Scottish justice, which we continue to do and continue to uphold.
"The cables confirm what we always said – that our only interest was taking a justice decision based on Scots law without fear or favour, which was exactly what was done, and that our public position was identical to our private one.
"They also show that the former UK government were playing false on the issue, with a different public position from their private one – which must be deeply embarrassing for the Labour party in Scotland – and that the US government was fully aware of the pressure being applied to the UK government."