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Lockerbie bomber Megrahi's release 'vindicated' after two years

August 20, 2011 - Washington

Two years after the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Scottish government has claimed that it had been "vindicated" over its controversial decision to free him.

Megrahi was released from Greenock prison in 2009 after being diagnosed of Prostate cancer, with doctors saying that he has just three months to live.

The BBC quoted a spokesman as saying that senior figures in the US, British and Scottish jurisdictions have agreed it was taken in good faith.

"Two years of extensive scrutiny, under three jurisdictions, vindicates the position that the justice secretary released al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds and compassionate grounds alone," a spokesman for the First Minister Alex Salmond said.

"Regardless of people's views, they can have complete confidence that it was taken on the basis of Scots law, and without any consideration of the economic, political and diplomatic factors that the then UK government based its position on. Whether people support or oppose the decision, it was made following the due process of Scots law, we stand by it, and al-Megrahi is dying of terminal Prostate cancer," he added.

Megrahi was jailed in 2001 for the Lockerbie atrocity, which killed 270 people in 1988.

The decision to release him by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill had not only sparked international condemnation from some relatives of victims and politicians, including US President Barack Obama, but also attracted high-profile support from figures such as Nelson Mandela.

Recently, Megrahi had appeared on a video footage, supporting Libyan leader Colonnel Muammar Gaddafi.


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