Saturday, 6 August 2011

Megrahi return would be subject to UK immigration rules

[I am grateful to Robert Forrester for drawing my attention to the following House of Lords written question and answer from 21 June 2011.]

Lord Laird: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether reports on the whereabouts of Abdel Baset Al Megrahi are still being transmitted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from Libya, and those on his health to East Renfrewshire Council; and whether they will detain him if he returns to the United Kingdom. [HL9768]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not monitor the location or health of Abdel Baset Ali Al Megrahi. East Renfrewshire was designated as the local authority responsible for monitoring Al Megrahi's health and location because his family lived in Newton Mearns during his imprisonment in Greenock prison. The Scottish Government have informed us that East Renfrewshire Council, as the supervising local authority, is maintaining regular contact with Al Megrahi as required by the conditions of his release licence. It would not be appropriate for the FCO to ask the council for this confidential information.

Should Al Megrahi wish to return to the UK then he would be subject to UK immigration law and therefore be required to apply for an entry visa. Any such application for a visa from Al Megrahi would be considered in the appropriate way including consideration of the seriousness of the offence for which he was convicted.

[A news report based on this written answer can now be found on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm. The editor, Steven Raeburn, cynically asks on Twitter @TheFirmOnline "Does this permit 'plausible deniability' to be argued by the UK Gov in the event of a stray missile landing on him...?"]


  1. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi should bear the following guidance in mind when applying for a UK entry visa:

    "15 May 2011: The UK Border Agency in Tripoli remains closed in response to the security situation in Libya. Due to civil unrest in Libya, the UK visa service in Tripoli remains suspended, and the visa application centre remains closed until further notice. Visa applicants wishing to travel to the UK should consider submitting their visa applications in either Rome, Istanbul, Cairo or Tunis. For information on how to apply in these countries visit the Worldbridge website and select the country you want to apply in from the drop down menu. Please continue to monitor this website for any further updates on the visa service in Libya. On 10 August 2011 you will see changes to the information about applying for a UK visa in Libya. We apologise for any convenience the closure may cause."

  2. I really can't believe the amount of absolute TOSH being talked about the status of Megrahi. He's out on licence which makes him a Scottish prisoner still surely?

    Incidentally have the English Authorities arranged to put Biggs back in prison yet? He's still alive too isn't he?