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Clinton to Scotland: Don't release bomber

Aug. 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she intervened in Scotland's deliberations about whether to release the Pan Am Flight 103 bomber.

During in a joint interview with Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez Tuesday, Clinton said Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the ailing Libyan spy convicted in the 2001 explosion that killed 271 people, should not be released on compassionate grounds or moved to a Libyan jail.

"I just think it is absolutely wrong to release someone who has been imprisoned based on the evidence about his involvement in such a horrendous crime," she said. "We are still encouraging the Scottish authorities not to do so, and hope that they will not."

Her comments came after she telephoned Scottish Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill, urging him not to agree to release al-Megrahi under either condition, The Times of London reported.

On Tuesday, a Scottish court permitted al-Megrahi to drop his appeal of his sentence, removing a roadblock to his possible release. Al-Megrahi, serving a life sentence in Greenock Prison, asked to be sent back to Libya on humanitarian grounds because he has advanced prostate cancer.

MacAskill said he would decide whether to release al-Megrahi within two weeks.

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