Thursday, 30 March 2017

Secret talks about Megrahi repatriation

[What follows is a report that appeared in The Scotsman on this date in 2009:]

The SNP has been engaged in secret talks that could send the Lockerbie bomber home, it was reported last night.

It is claimed talks have taken place between SNP advisers and Libya as the Scottish Executive prepares to sign a pact on prison transfers this week.

Meanwhile the health of the man serving life for the Lockerbie bombing continues to deteriorate. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's cancer has now spread to his spine and pelvis.

Officially, the diplomatic meetings to discuss the future of the bomber are taking place between the Foreign Office and Libyan officials, because Scotland is not a sovereign state. But Kenny MacAskill, the justice secretary, has asked Robert Gordon, director general of the Executive's justice department, to play a major role in the discussions.

Meetings between Mr Gordon and a Libyan delegation began last October and included discussions with US senators.

Megrahi's legal team are being encouraged to apply for a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) that would see him serve the remainder of his 27-year sentence in Libya.

The appeal is expected to take up to a year but Megrahi's health has deteriorated so much he may be forced to abandon the fight to clear his name.

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