Lawmakers in Scotland for Megrahi probe

Sept. 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Scottish officials said they are to meet with U.S. lawmakers Thursday who are investigating the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is leading a team to Edinburgh to discuss the 2009 decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Megrahi was released by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in 2009 on compassionate grounds because the former Libyan intelligence officer was supposedly dying of cancer. Megrahi is still alive in Tripoli and investigators wonder if the release was tied to an energy deal with British oil company BP.

Menendez in August called on Scottish officials to hand over the medical records that prompted the compassionate release of Megrahi, though Edinburgh has refused.

BP landed a deal in 2007 to explore for oil in the Gulf of Sidra off the coast of Libya. BP spokesman Robert Wine said the company was holding off on drilling to make sure all precautionary measures are in place, however.

U.S. lawmakers are in Scotland as they prepare to have a committee hearing into the Megrahi decision this month in Washington. They won't meet with MacAskill during their visit, the BBC reports.

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