Killer's transfer to Ulster jail to be reviewed

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The Independent Online
The controversial decision to transfer convicted killer Jason Campbell from Scotland to the Maze prison in Northern Ireland is to be reviewed by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Donald Dewar.

Campbell, a Protestant whose father was convicted of planting a bomb in two Roman Catholic pubs in Glasgow, was jailed for life for the murder of 16-year-old Mark Scott as he made his way home from a football match in the city in 1995. Mark, who was wearing a Celtic top, had his throat slashed in an apparently random attack.

In a radio interview, Mr Dewar said he wanted to be satisfied that the proper criteria for Campbell's transfer had been met before it took place. He insisted that the final decision on the move rested with him, not with his home affairs minister, Henry McLeish, who has found himself at the centre of the growing row. Mr Dewar told BBC Radio Scotland: "This is a very tragic and very difficult and very complex case."

The move comes following a storm of political protest and criticism. Mr Dewar said he did not want to prejudge the case as it had to be decided on the evidence and the facts.

Michael Ancram, the former Northern Ireland Minister, criticised the Government's handling of the case and said it might put a question mark over Mr McLeish's future. "It's quite astounding that a transfer of this sort in a very sensitive area has taken place without the Secretary of State knowing the full facts."

The loyalist politician whose party requested the transfer on behalf of the UVF paramilitaries said today that he had made mistakes. Progressive Unionist Party leader David Ervine said: "He (Jason Campbell) is not a political prisoner."