London: Scottish lawmakers have demanded the
country`s government release full details of the medical advice that led to the release from jail of the Lockerbie bomber almost a year ago.
Opposition Labour Party legislators called for the
prognosis made of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi`s health before he
was freed on compassionate grounds - and the names of the
doctors who made the assessment - to be made public.
The contentious decision to release al-Megrahi from a
Scottish prison has stirred anger in the United States, and
prompted US senators to begin an investigation into the
circumstances behind the decision.
Al-Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted over
the 1988 bombing of a jetliner above the small town of
Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 259 people - mostly
Americans - on board the plane, and another 11 on the ground.
He was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to serve a minimum
of 27 years in a Scottish prison, but in 2008 was diagnosed
with terminal prostate cancer.
James Kelly, community safety spokesman for the Labour
Party in Scotland, said the Scottish government`s justice
secretary Kenny MacAskill must disclose the medical advice
which led to al-Megrahi being freed.
"It`s time that Kenny MacAskill released the full facts
surrounding the medical evidence of al-Megrahi`s release," he
said in a statement.
Kelly said some recent medical studies contradict the
claim made at the time of al-Megrahi`s release last August
that he may only survive for around three months.
"We know that al-Megrahi intended to start chemotherapy -
he indicated that in his application for release," Kelly said.
"It`s now time for the full facts to come out.``
Scotland has had a separate government with
responsibility for some decision-making and local taxes since
1999. However, the British government in London controls all
policy effecting the entire UK, foreign policy and defence.
The head of the Catholic Church in Scotland on Sunday
defended the release of al-Megrahi, claiming that the Scottish
justice system had a proudly held "culture of compassion."
"On the other hand, there still exists in many parts of
the US, if not nationally, an attitude towards the concept of
justice which can only be described as a `culture of
vengeance`," Cardinal Keith O`Brien wrote in the Scotland on
He criticised the decision of the US Senate Committee on
Foreign Relations to investigate al-Megrahi`s release. Both
the Scottish and British governments have declined requests to
send ministers to a planned hearing on the case.