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Scotland lawmakers call for release of Lockerbie bomber medical records

The opposition Scottish Labour Party [party website] called Tuesday for the publication of all medical evidence related to the release of convicted Pan Am Flight 103 [BBC backgrounder] bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi [BBC profile]. The demand comes one year after al Megrahi was released [JURIST report] from prison on compassionate grounds because doctors predicted he only had three months to live. Al Megrahi was then returned to his native Libya, where he is sill living, and experts have suggested that he could continue living for a year or more [Mail Online report]. Despite the publication of a report leading to the decision, the Labour party said that all medical opinions leading to the decision and the names of the doctors who authored them should also be released [BBC report]. Responding to criticism of his decision to release al Megrahi, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill [official website] claimed he acted in good faith when authorizing the release, denying that there was an arrangement [Telegraph report] for al Megrahi to drop his appeal in return for his release. Last month, US lawmakers called for an investigation [JURIST report] into the role that oil company British Petroleum (BP) [corporate website] may have played in al Megrahi's release. The lawmakers are asking that the Senate Judiciary Committee investigate whether BP played a role in lobbying for the release of al Megrahi in exchange for a 2007 contract with Libya allowing the company to drill in the country's coastal waters.

Al Megrahi's release was controversial, with both US officials and the Scottish Parliament [JURIST reports] condemning it. Al Megrahi was convicted in 2001 of the Pan Am bombing and sentenced to 27 years in prison, which he subsequently appealed. In November 2008, the Scottish High Court of Judiciary [official website] denied al Megrahi's request to be released [JURIST report] on bail during the appeals process. In March 2008, lawyers for al Megrahi were denied access to a "missing document," that they had sought in appealing his conviction [JURIST reports]. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) [official website] granted an appeal [JURIST report] in the case in June 2007 and referred it the High Court after the commission identified six grounds for a possible "miscarriage of justice" In his trial and conviction. In 2003, Libya made its final compensation payment [JURIST report] to a US fund for victims' families in November 2008 after agreeing to accept responsibility for the 1988 airline bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed all 259 on board [memorial website] including 180 Americans.

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