[This is the headline over a report published in today’s edition of The Times. It adds nothing whatever to the story in yesterday’s edition of the Daily Mail and, once again, contains comments exclusively from US, not UK, Lockerbie relatives. It reads in part:]
Relatives of the Lockerbie bomb victims are angry that Kenny MacAskill, the former Scottish justice secretary, is to profit from a book about his decision to release the man convicted of the atrocity.
In The Lockerbie Bombing: the Search for Justice Mr MacAskill explains his decision in 2009 to release Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi.
His publisher will not reveal whether Mr MacAskill received an advance or what he would do with any royalties.
Relatives of some of the 270 people who died when Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down over Lockerbie in 1988 criticised his decision to make a profit.
Rosemary Mild, 74, whose stepdaughter Miriam Wolfe, 20, died, told the Daily Mail: “It is blood money when this man is profiting in this way — it is disgusting. Kenny MacAskill should have been forced to resign at the time of al-Megrahi’s release because what he did changed the way Scotland was regarded in the US and around the world. It was an abomination of justice.”
It is understood that Mr MacAskill’s book will be published in hardback on May 26 and will retail for £20.
Susan Cohen, an American who lost her daughter, Theodora, in the bombing, said: “It is totally self-serving of Kenny MacAskill to write this book. It is loathsome and disgusting.
“He is profiting from a decision which caused absolute outrage around the world, profiting from other people’s pain. If he is so convinced he made the right decision, why does he feel the need to attempt to justify it?”
Mr MacAskill, the former SNP member for Edinburgh Eastern at Holyrood, said recently that he wrote the book to “set the record straight” and added: “What I can say, without disclosing the full contents of the book, is that I knew we were a cog in a wheel.
“What I didn’t realise was how small a cog and how big a wheel. I think what comes out of this is that others should hang their head in shame and none of them is in Scotland.” (...)
A spokesman for Biteback Publishing said: “I can’t comment on the question of [whether he received] an advance, or what Kenny intends to do with any proceeds, as these arrangements are strictly between author and publisher.”
Mr MacAskill was not available for comment last night.