UK PM rules out fresh probe into Lockerbie bomber’s release

“I don`t need an inquiry to tell me what was a bad decision. It was a bad decision."

Updated: Jul 21, 2010, 10:37 AM IST

Washington: UK Premier David Cameron today
categorically ruled out a fresh investigation into the release
of Lockerbie bomber, convicted of orchestrating the bombing of
Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, even as he termed the decision
"completely wrong".

"In terms of an inquiry, I`m not currently minded that we
need to have a UK-based inquiry on this, partly for this
reason: I don`t need an inquiry to tell me what was a bad
decision. It was a bad decision," Cameron told reporters at a
press conference in the White House.

Abdel Basset Mohamed al-Megrahi, a Libyan official
was the only person convicted in bombing of the Pan Am Flight
over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in which 270 people were

Last year he was released from jail in Scotland on
compassionate grounds as he was suffering from terminal
prostate cancer. After he was freed Megrahi returned to Libya
where he was given a hero`s welcome.

Addressing the joint press conference with US President
Barack Obama, Cameron said, "The big fact that`s changed over
the year that makes it an even worse decision is the fact
that, of course, Megrahi is still free, at liberty in Libya
rather than serving the prison sentence in Scotland as he
should be doing."

"I`ve been absolutely clear about this right from start.
And in our meeting, we had what we called a violent agreement
which is that releasing the Lockerbie bomber, a mass murderer
of 270 people -- the largest act of terrorism ever committed
in the United Kingdom -- was completely wrong," he said.

Several US Senators as well as Secretary of State,
Hillary Clinton have demanded an inquiry into the release of
the Lockerbie bomber by Scotland.

Clinton had said yesterday that the US is encouraging the
Scottish and British authorities to review again the
underlying facts and circumstances leading to the release of
al-Megrahi and to consider any new information that has come
to light since his release.

"I have also asked British Foreign Secretary Hague to
review and address the issues raised in your letters and to
respond directly to the Congress," Clinton said in her letter
to four Senators, who had urged her in this regard.

The last British government released a whole heap of
information about this decision, Cameron said.

"But I`ve asked the Cabinet secretary today to go back
through all of the paperwork and see if more needs to be
published about the background to this decision," he said.

Speaking on the issue Obama said, "I have confidence that
Prime Minister Cameron`s government will be cooperative in
making sure that the facts are there."

"That will not negate the fact that, as the Prime
Minister indicated, it was a very poor decision and one that
not only ran contrary to, I think, how we should be treating
terrorists but also didn`t reflect the incredible pain that
the families who were affected still suffer to this day."

Admitting that it was a mistake to release Megrahi,
Cameron said, "He showed his victims no compassion, they were
not allowed to die in their beds at home, surrounded by their

"So, in my view, neither should that callous killer have
been given that luxury. That wasn`t a decision taken by BP, it
was a decision taken by the Scottish government."

"We have to accept that under the laws of my country,
where power on certain issues has devolved to Scotland, this
was a decision for the Scottish executive -- a decision that
they took," Cameron said.

The British Prime Minister said his government will
engage constructively with the hearings of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee in this regard.