The Scottish parliament has given Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill a rough ride over his handling of the compassionate release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi.
The emergency session heard MacAskill insist the release conformed with Scottish law, and was his alone, although he complained London never made its position clear, and that Libya reneged on a prior agreement: “It is a matter of great regret that Mr al-Megrahi was received in such an inappropriate manner. It showed no compassion or sensitivity to the families of the 270 victims of Lockerbie. Assurances had been given by the Libyan government that any return would be dealt with in a low key sensitive fashion,” he said. The decision’s reception abroad, particularly in America, had damaged Scotland accused several critics worried about the economic and political fallout: “What the First Minister and his government have done is to split Scotland, split our country within itself and split our nation from many international friends. Next week Colonel Ghaddafi can parade Al Megrahi as part of his 40th anniversary celebrations,” said Tavish Scott , leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats. The celebrations take place at the start of September and the biggest stage in the world has been built in Tripoli, where Muammar Gahdaffi has promised his people a spectacular show. He has claimed he has already phoned British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to thank him for al-Megrahi’s release. However Britian has had little to say on the affair.