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Lockerbie bombing: Donald Trump was asked to back Megrahi release

image captionMr Trump (right) said he refused to release a statement after Megrahi's release

Donald Trump was asked to back the decision to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from prison.

The US billionaire has revealed he was asked to support the Scottish government in the days following Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds.

He said he refused as he believed he would be criticised.

A spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said no rules were breached with the request.

Megrahi is the only person convicted over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing above Scotland which killed 270 people.

Mr Trump said he refused to release a statement drafted by a Scottish government official on the decision to free Megrahi.

The suggested draft statement read: "It must have been a hugely difficult decision for the Scottish government to make and, of course, for most of our own United States families who lost loved ones, it would always be impossible to accept.

"Their reaction is entirely understandable, and as an American I personally would sympathise with the US families.

"However I am certain that the Scots issued this release for good reasons, and I would like to hope that it might help to break the cycle of violence around the world and replace it with reciprocal gestures."

International stakeholders

It added: "In any event it won't stop my love affair with Scotland and the Scots.

"No-one should ever demean that country. Too many Scottish soldiers have died in Iraq and Afghanistan for the head of the FBI to lecture Scots on fighting terrorism."

A spokesman for the first minister said the government was entitled to hope for support from international stakeholders.

Megrahi was convicted by a special court in the Netherlands in 2001.

He was freed from jail in 2009 on compassionate grounds because of cancer, stirring controversy when he outlived doctors' expectations.

He died in May this year.

Mr Trump is currently involved in a war of words with Mr Salmond as the tycoon is against wind farm development, highlighting plans for turbines off the coast of his Aberdeenshire golf course.

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