Britain Denies Deal As Scottish Parliament Debates Lockerbie Case


LONDON, England — There was no “double-dealing,” no oil deal and no private assurances to Libya in an effort to secure the release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Wednesday.

Brown took time out from an event in Birmingham, England, to address the issue a day after the British and Scottish governments released more than 100 pages of previously secret documents regarding the release of Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi.

The Scottish Parliament also held a heated debate Wednesday about the Scottish justice minister’s decision to release al Megrahi. A vote was expected later in the afternoon on whether parliament members approved of the move, with the option of distancing themselves from the decision.

The Scottish justice minister made the decision to release al Megrahi last month, but there has been speculation that Britain pushed for him Megrahi to be eligible for release as part of a deal allowing BP (British Petroleum) to drill for oil in Libya.

“Our interest throughout has been to strengthen the coalition against international terrorism,” Brown said. “I made it clear that for us there was never a linkage between any other issue and the Scottish government’s own decision about Megrahi’s future.”

Brown added, “On our part there was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to instruct Scottish ministers, no private assurances by me to (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi.”

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