Fresh call for Lockerbie inquiry

photo of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi sitting in a wheelchair in his room at a hospital in Tripoli
Image caption Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds in August

A Tory MP has made a fresh call for a full public inquiry into the release of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

The chairman of Westminster's all-party group on Libya, Daniel Kawczynski, has written to the prime minister.

He urged David Cameron to hold Scottish ministers to account for their decision to allow Abdelbaset al-Megrahi home to Libya on compassionate grounds.

The Scottish government said an inquiry had already been held.

Megrahi was released by Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill in August on the grounds he was suffering from terminal prostate cancer and was said to have as little as three months to live.

He had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2001 for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

The 1988 bombing killed 270 people, mostly Americans.

In the past few days, four US senators have claimed that oil giant BP lobbied for the release of Megrahi to secure a deal with Libya.

Special hearings examining Megrahi's release will be held at Capitol Hill on 29 July.

The US Senate foreign relations committee said it would ask BP officials to testify after the company admitted lobbying the British government in 2007 over a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) with Libya.

The Scottish government denied having any contact with BP before its decision.

Image caption The Pan Am jumbo jet exploded over Lockerbie, killing 270 people

A spokesman for Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said the Scottish government had opposed the PTA between the UK and Libya, which was brokered by former prime minister Tony Blair.

The spokesman said Megrahi had been released on compassionate grounds.

"If the US Senate wants to get the truth about the 'deal in the desert' by the UK and Libyan governments in 2007, they should call Tony Blair to give evidence," the spokesman said.

"Blair was its architect - he would be the one who knows about an oil deal.

"Kenny MacAskill rejected Libya's prisoner transfer application for al-Megrahi and he based his decisions on both the PTA and the compassionate release application on strict justice criteria."

The spokesman added: "We have of course had an inquiry in the Scottish Parliament, and also by the Westminster Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which was very critical of the UK government for keeping Scottish ministers in the dark about Tony Blair's deal in the desert on a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya."

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