Wednesday, 3 August 2011

MacAskill reply to Forrester

[At the end of July, Justice for Megrahi's secretary Robert Forrester wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to inquire whether the Scottish authorities had offered Abdelbaset Megrahi an opportunity to return to Scotland given the circumstances currently obtaining in Libya. The Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm has just published a report based on Kenny MacAskill's reply. It reads as follows:]

The Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill has swept aside a query from the Justice for Megrahi campaign group asking whether Scotland maintained a duty of care to Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi following the threats to his life under the newly recognised Libyan regime.

The likelihood of rendition by US authorities of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi in the aftermath of the UK’s recognition of the former Libyan rebel forces as the new Government of Libya, had prompted the Justice for Megrahi campaign group to challenge the Scottish prison service, First Minister, Justice Minister and Lord Advocate to explain what commitments have been made to ensure his safety.

The answer appears to be none.

Answering on behalf of all organisations, MacAskill said : “The Council has been able to maintain regular contact with Mr Al Megrahi during the recent conflict in Libya and he continues to abide by the terms of his release licence.”

“No request has been made to the Council by Mr Al Megrahi to change any of his licence conditions, including his place of residency,” he added.

The issue of the existing duty of care was not addressed in Mr MacAskill’s reply.

Mr Megrahi’s release licence (...) does not oblige Megrahi to remain at any fixed address. His obligation extends to notifying his supervising officer “in advance of any change in [your] place of residence”.


  1. Ask a silly question, you get a silly answer!

  2. I guess I have just one question: How is an active war zone safer than Greenock Prison?

    One would think if COMPASSION were really at the heart of release, that it would be more compassionate to have the "prisoner under license" in a safer location.

    It could be the thin air from the altitude in Denver getting to me (5280'), but the logic of continuing release into a war zone doesn't make sense.