British ex-govt helped Libyans over bomber: review

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Britain's former Labour government did "all it could" to help the Libyans in appealing to Scotland for the release of the Lockerbie bomber, a British review into his release said Monday.

The review, by Britain's top civil servant Gus O'Donnell, said the then government decided that "UK interests would be damaged" if Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi died in a British jail.

"Policy was therefore progressively developed that HMG (Her Majesty's Government) should do all it could... to facilitate an appeal by the Libyans to the Scottish Government," said the conclusions of the report.

Megrahi is the only person ever convicted over the 1988 attack in which 270 people, most of them Americans, were killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Scottish authorities, who have power over their own judicial affairs, released Megrahi on compassionate grounds in August 2009 after doctors said he was suffering from terminal cancer and had three months to live.

But he is still alive in his native Libya, a fact that has caused outrage in the United States.

O'Donnell was asked to carry out the review by Prime Minister David Cameron in July last year.

© 2011 AFP

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