[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Scotsman. It reads in part:]
A former British ambassador has accused the previous Labour government of "flagrantly contravening" United Nations resolutions over its decision to allow the Lockerbie bomber to apply for release back to Libya.
Sir Brian Barder, who served as British High Commissioner to Australia, writes in The Scotsman today [RB: article available only to subscribers] that the so-called "deal in the desert" between the then prime minister, Tony Blair, and Libyan leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in 1997 was a clear breach of a UN resolution which stipulated the bomber should see out his sentence in the UK.
At the meeting, Mr Blair agreed to a Libyan request to sign a Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) for Libyan prisoners in the UK. At the time, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the Lockerbie atrocity, was the only Libyan in a UK jail.
But Sir Brian points out that this decision was "in obvious breach" of UN resolution 1192, signed in 1998, which had endorsed a UK-United States initiative to keep anyone convicted of the bombing in the UK.
Sir Brian suggests that the UK government signed the deal first and only then gave lawyers instructions on how to devise a justification for the breach.
He describes those justifications, released in letters over the past two years, as "feeble".
The diplomat, who also led the UK's diplomatic mission in Ethiopia, Poland and Nigeria in a 30-year career in the Foreign Office, said the Scottish Government's decision to release Mr Megrahi was "fully consistent" with the UN resolution, because it had been taken on compassionate grounds. (...)
[It is comforting to have this belated diplomatic recognition of the accuracy of what I have been saying repeatedly on this blog since at least 29 August 2009.]