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Posts Tagged ‘Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi’

Jack Straw has admitted the Government caved in to Libyan demands that the Lockerbie bomber be included in a prisoner transfer deal with Britain.

Telegraph.co.uk | By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor
Published: 5:10PM BST 30 Aug 2009

The release of Megrahi, who is suffering from prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds and his return to Libya provoked a storm of provoked a storm of international condemnation. Photo: Reuters

The release of Megrahi, who is suffering from prostate cancer, on compassionate grounds and his return to Libya provoked a storm of provoked a storm of international condemnation. Photo: Reuters

The Justice Secretary said he originally wanted Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi omitted from the agreement, but relented and agreed the bomber should be eligible.

He said the Libyans deserved “something” in return for giving up their nuclear weapons programme but vehemently denied striking a “backdoor deal” over Megrahi.

Shortly after the reversal of Britain’s stance, a multi-billion pound oil exploration deal between Libya and BP was rubberstamped.

Mr Straw insisted on Sunday that the disclosures were a “red herring” as Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice minister, made the final decision on Megrahi’s release.

Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, stressed that Libya’s PTA application had been rejected, and the terminally-ill bomber was freed on compassionate grounds.

But Opposition parties increased their demands for a full inquiry into suspicions that the PTA was a “terrorist-for-trade” deal.

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Lockerbie and the conspiracy theories

Long standing theories about who was behind the bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie in 1988 have now been joined by a batch of new claims about the reasons behind the moves to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.

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Planetary Movement

lockerbieIn December 1988, I was living in the United Kingdom when the searing news of the Lockerbie bombing exploded into the global consciousness.

With 270 victims, Lockerbie was at once the worst act of terrorism on British soil and the most heinous act of terrorism yet perpetrated against Americans.  Twelve years later, Lockerbie would produce one of the most expensive trials in world history (75 million pounds sterling, circa $120 million) and what has become a highly contentious verdict.

At the time of the tragedy, an extremist group of Palestinians backed by Iran was selected as the primary suspect, but two years later when Saddam Hussein seized Kuwait the spotlight of suspicion shifted to Libya.  Bush, Sr. needed Iranian support for the invasion of Kuwait – a nation courted assiduously by the Reagan-Bush administration through the notorious Iran-Contra Scandal and beyond.

megrahi
Under the crushing weight of draconian sanctions, Libya eventually realized the wisdom of producing members of its own intelligence apparatus who could help them engineer the lifting of crippling trade restrictions.  In the course of time, two hapless Libyans: Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah would be extradited and sent to an obscure US military base called, Camp Zeist, where they would be placed on trial.  On the 31st of January 2001 over twelve years after the tragedy shook the civilized world, a panel consisting of three Scottish judges convicted Megrahi and acquited Fhimah.  Megrahi received a life sentence intended to compel him to serve at least 27 years in prison.

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