British Justice Secretary Jack Straw said on Sunday that trade deals with Libya had no bearing on the decision to free the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed alMegrahi, Britain's Skynews reported.
Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi holds his prisoner release papers as he walks toward the airplane at Glasgow International Airport, Glasgow Scotland bound for Tripoli, after he was released on compassionate grounds by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill Thursday Aug. 20, 2009.
Straw made the remarks after leaked letters apparently showed he decided two years ago it was in Britain's interests to make Megrahi eligible for return to Libya.
The Sunday Times reported that the British government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties, which were resolved soon afterwards.
Straw insisted that Scotland always had the final say and claimed that the issue is irrelevant as Megrahi's release eventually came on compassionate grounds.
He said the proposed exclusion of Megrahi from the prisoner transfer scheme had been dropped because it "went beyond the standard form."
On Aug. 24, Scotland's Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the decision was based neither on political, diplomatic nor economic consideration as the Scottish Parliament was recalled a week early from summer recess to take part in an emergency session, with members of the parliament to quiz MacAskill about his decision.
MacAskill stressed that the release were based on the ideals of the Scottish legal system and compassionate grounds, adding that applications were lawfully made for release of Megrahi and the government will fully cooperate in any inquiry into Megrahi's release.