British and Scottish governments were on Tuesday forced to make public what was described as all “relevant” correspondence relating to the controversial release last month of Libyan national Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi who was serving a life sentence in Scotland for his role in the 1988 Lockerbie air crash that killed 270 people.
The unprecedented decision to publish official letters was aimed at countering accusations that Mr. Megrahi was freed in return for lucrative Libyan oil contracts for British companies.
Officials claimed that the correspondence supported the government position that Mr. Megrahi’s release had nothing to do with British business interests.
Crucially, however, the medical advice that prompted the release of Mr. Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal cancer, on compassionate grounds was not among the documents published by the Scottish government.
At the time of his release on August 20, the government had said that it had decided to free Mr. Megrahi on the basis of medical advice that he had less than three months to live.
Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill insisted that his government had “nothing to hide”.
“There’s some information that people don’t want to be released and we’re not going to force that. But we’ve got nothing to hide and therefore we are delivering on what we said — which is that we would act according to due process, following the rules and guidance in Scotland, and we would publish what we were entitled to,” he said.