Restraint urged on Lockerbie bomber release anniversary

Britain has warned Libya that any celebrations to mark the one-year anniversary Friday of the Lockerbie bomber's release would be "tasteless, offensive and deeply insensitive". The Foreign Office urged restraint amid fears there could be a repeat of scenes last year when Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi returned to a hero's welcome in Libya after his release.


The Scottish government, which took the decision to free the Libyan bomber, also reportedly urged Tripoli to refrain from indulging in celebrations this year, saying any public events held in Megrahi's honour would be "deplorable".

Seriously ill with cancer, Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds a year ago today having been given three month’s life expectancy. One year on he is still alive in his homeland.

The decision by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to release Megrahi prompted widespread criticism from political opponents and fury from the relatives of the 270 people who died when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988.

His release has tested relations between the United States, and both the Scottish and British governments. Scotland has repeatedly defended the move, whilst the UK and the US insist they believe the decision was a mistake.

MacAskill has said that he is prepared to meet US senators who are investigating whether British petroleum company BP influenced the decision to free Megrahi to help it clinch oil deals with Libya.

But doubts have been raised as to Megrahi's guilt.

The head of the Scotting human rights commission, Alan Miller, has called for an independent inquiry into the Lockerbie bombing, claiming that an investigation has uncovered new evidence that undermines the conviction.

The row over Megrahi's  health is an "undignified and unhelpful dsitraction" from the more important question of whether he is guilty, he told the British Guardian newspaper.




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