Salmond: Scotland did not 'pass the buck' over Megrahi release

By Lucy Collins
Sunday 23 October 2011 03:19
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The scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, yesterday issued a stern admonishment to a US senator investigating the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi. The US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee is investigating whether BP lobbied for his release to help get a $900m (£565m) oil exploration agreement with Libya off the ground.

In a terse letter to Senator Robert Menendez, Mr Salmond denied that Scotland had passed the buck on the release of Megrahi. He said: "You and some of your senatorial colleagues have suggested that the Scottish government have sought to pass responsibility to others for the release of Megrahi. That is simply not the case." He also refuted speculation that the motive for Megrahi's release was less than pure, saying: "Please do not ascribe to the Scottish government economic or commercial motives for this decision when there is no evidence whatsoever for such a claim."

Mr Salmond said it was "puzzling" that the Committee chose not to offer former Prime Minister Tony Blair the chance to give evidence. Megrahi is the only person convicted of the 1988 plane bombing in which 270 people were killed.

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