LONDON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- London discussed how to use a cancer diagnosis for the Lockerbie bomber to ensure his release on compassionate grounds with Libyan officials, cables reveal.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, was released to Libya in 2009 by Scotland on compassionate grounds following a terminal cancer diagnosis.
U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by the Web site WikiLeaks and published by London's The Daily Telegraph reveal there was more backroom dealing in the Megrahi case than had been made public.
Prior to the Megrahi cancer diagnosis, officials in the British Foreign Office wrote to Libyan officials discussing how the medical issue could be used to secure Megrahi's release on compassionate grounds.
The British government has maintained that it wasn't involved in the Megrahi release, saying it was a decision for the Scottish government to make.
Officials in Qatar played a role as well, though Emirati officials in the leaked cables said they were asked to intervene by the Arab League and no money changed hands regarding Megrahi.
U.S. diplomatic cables leaked to The Daily Telegraph in December revealed that London said a BP deal with Libya might be in jeopardy if Megrahi died in Scottish custody.
U.S. lawmakers said after a visit to Scotland in September that the Scottish decision to release Megrahi was "manipulated. The Scottish and British governments, as well as BP official said there wasn't a connection to oil.