US Senators demand release of documents related to Lockerbie

Senators want BP to release documents related to al-Megrahi`s early release.

Washington: Continuing their tirade against BP`s link in the release of Lockerbie bomber by a Scottish court last year, four US Senators demanded release of all documents in this regard.

Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey at a news conference called on BP to fully disclose its public and private communications related to the early release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi.

The British oil giant previously acknowledged conversations with the UK government about prisoner transfers while negotiating a lucrative oil exploration contract with Libya, the four Senators said.

"It is disturbing to learn that oil contracts between BP and the government of Libya may have affected the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence agent convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, from a Scottish prison last year," the Senators wrote in a letter to Carl-Henric Svanberg chairman, BP International Headquarters.

"Serious questions have been raised about whether justice and punishment for terrorism took a back seat to back-room deals for an oil contract," the Senators wrote.

Earlier this week, Senators called on the US State Department to investigate the role that BP may have played in securing the release of Megrahi.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she has received the letter in this regard from the Senators.

"It has made some recommendations to us. We are evaluating those recommendations and will respond to the senators," State Department spokesman, PJ Crowley told reporters.

"There are some practical questions of exactly what they would be asking us to do and what would be our ability to inquire as to, any conversation that might alleged to have taken place between a private company, a government and another devolved government.”

“So we have the letter. We are looking at the letter. We understand what they`ve asked us to do. And we will respond to the letter," he said.

At a news conference, these Senators had accused the British government of working for the terrorist`s release to help BP win a USD 900 million oil-drilling deal with Libya.

"Back in 2007, BP and the Libyan government struck a USD 900 million oil deal that the then prime minister Tony Blair helped to coordinate, but the deal ran into roadblocks," said Schumer, the third-ranking member of the Democratic leadership.

"We know that the British government agreed to release al-Megrahi based on a fraudulent doctor`s prognosis that he had three months to live. Once Megrahi is released, all the roadblocks to that oil deal are removed," he said.

"Various reports suggest that BP applied pressure to have al-Megrahi released in order to finalise and expedite a USD 900 million oil drilling deal with Libya," said Menendez.

"If BP is found to have helped free this mass murderer, that would further delegitimise the Scottish court`s decision to grant him compassionate release," he added.