Monday, 10 July 2017

Brown insisted he could not intervene in Megrahi case

What follows is excerpted from an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2009:

Gaddafi demands return of Lockerbie bomber in first meeting with Brown

In his first face to face meeting with Gordon Brown, Muammar Gaddafi today demanded the return of the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi.

The Libyan leader was told by the prime minister that it was a matter for the Scottish courts. [RB: Tony Blair was, of course, mistaken: it was a matter for a Scottish Government minister.]

Gaddafi, wearing a flowing black and white silken robe and protected by female bodyguards, is at the G8 summit in Italy as the rotating president of the African Union. (...)

In a 40-minute meeting between the two leaders, conducted in Arabic and English, Brown insisted he could not intervene in the Megrahi case.

Scottish judges this week delayed completing an appeal into Megrahi's conviction until at least September, even though he has prostate cancer and faces a risk of dying in prison.

The bombing of flight Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988 killed 270 people on the aircraft and the ground.

Gaddafi's demand for the return of Megrahi was countered by Brown urging him to do more to cooperate with the Metropolitan police investigation into the shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher in 1984.

Her murder led to the severing of diplomatic ties between the two countries for a decade, but Gaddafi subsequently worked to improve relations with the west, so much so that Tony Blair went to Tripoli to meet him in 2004.

The Libyans have admitted responsibility for Fletcher's killing by embassy staff and have paid compensation, but Britain is complaining that Libya is not producing witnesses, meaning the inquiry has stalled for more than a year.

[From a report by Patrick Wintour on the website of The Guardian. There is a (...) shorter report on the BBC News website.]

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