Brits broke pledge on Lockerbie bomber


Britain was accused last night of reneging on a promise to the United States that the Lockerbie bomber would serve his sentence in Scotland.

According to confidential correspondence obtained by The Times, ministers urged the Scottish government to consider returning Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi to Libya under a prisoner transfer deal in an apparent breach of a decade-old pledge.

A former Cabinet minister and two sources close to talks over the handover of suspects in 1999 told The Times that Robin Cook, then Foreign Secretary, promised Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State at the time, that anyone found guilty would serve their sentence in Scotland, where the airliner exploded with the loss of 270 lives.

A senior US official said: “There was a clear understanding at the time of the trial that al-Megrahi would serve his sentence in Scotland. In the 1990s the UK had the same view. It is up to them to explain what changed.”


The Times has obtained correspondence showing how Gordon Brown’s administration tried to wriggle out of the transatlantic commitment.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor, made reference to the deal — to which Libya also agreed — in a letter to Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister, in June 2007. “Libya agreed prior to al-Megrahi’s trial that anyone convicted of the Lockerbie bombing would serve their sentence in Scotland,” he wrote. Britain had reminded Libya of this through diplomatic channels, he said.

The position was reversed two years later when the Libyans applied for al-Megrahi’s transfer. Ivan Lewis, the Foreign Office minister, told the Scottish government that Britain had never provided a “definitive commitment” to the US because it had not wanted to “tie the hands of future governments”.


Isn't that special. I guess they figured lots of people misled Madeleine Albright, so why not the UK? The Brown government is looking real weaselly on this so far.


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