Scotland rejects US senators' Lockerbie report
Scotland on Tuesday rejected as a "false interpretation" a damning report by US senators which alleges that London strong-armed the Edinburgh government into freeing the Lockerbie bomber.
The report, entitled "Justice Undone: The Release of the Lockerbie Bomber," concluded that Britain was influenced by its commercial and economic interests and pressured Scotland to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi.
The document, obtained by AFP, concluded that political pressure and "commercial warfare" by the government of Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi played a major role in the decision. It was commissioned by four Democratic senators.
But the Scottish government, which has power over its own judicial affairs and took the decision to free Libyan national Megrahi in August 2009, accused the senators of rehashing old material.
"This is not an official report of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," said a Scottish government spokesman.
"It is an incorrect and inaccurate rehash by four senators of material that has been in the public domain for many months, and we entirely reject their false interpretation."
The spokesman also blasted the US politicians' probe, saying Scottish authorities "doubt the ability of the senators to conduct an objective exercise.
"The senators' original claim was that BP lobbying played a role in the release of Megrahi and even the Senate Committee hearing that was held in September dismissed that claim, leaving this whole exercise devoid of credibility."
The British and Scottish governments have repeatedly denied any foul play over Megrahi's release.
Megrahi is the only person ever convicted over the 1988 attack in which 270 people, most of them Americans, perished when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
Scottish authorities freed Megrahi, 58, on compassionate grounds after doctors said he was suffering from terminal cancer and had three months to live but he remains alive and living in Libya more than 16 months later.
© 2010 AFP