Scottish official sought at US Lockerbie hearing

WASHINGTON, July 24 (BestGrowthStock) – A U.S. senator has asked
that a Scottish representative appear at next week’s
congressional hearing on the release of the Libyan man
convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing.

Two Scottish officials have declined to appear before the
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is examining
circumstances of Scotland’s decision last year to release
Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, convicted
of bombing a U.S. airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland.

The committee hearing scheduled for July 29 also is looking
into whether British energy giant BP Plc (BP.L: ) (BP.N: )
influenced the bomber’s release.

In a letter sent on Friday to Alex Salmond, the first
minister of Scotland, Senator Frank Lautenberg said he was
“pleading for direct representation from the Scottish
government” at the hearing “to help us seek answers.”

“Your cooperation in sending a knowledgeable person will
help establish a credible record of what transpired,” wrote
Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey, which was home to a
number of the bombing victims.

“We are also witnessing the U.K. government claiming the
release was entirely the decision of the Scottish government
and vice versa,” Lautenberg said.

“Those who commit vicious acts of terrorism have to know
that they will be punished without compassion. Your
government’s participation in our hearing will help send that
message,” he concluded.

The hearing will examine whether BP’s oil interests
influenced the 2009 release of the only person convicted in the
bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that killed 270 people, most of
them Americans.

The bomber’s release by Scotland last year triggered an
international outcry that has complicated U.S.-British
relations already frayed by the massive BP oil spill in the
Gulf of Mexico. [ID:nN23140532]

Britain’s former justice secretary, Jack Straw, has
declined an invitation to testify. BP has not said whether its
chief executive Tony Hayward or advisor Mark Allen will accept
invitations to testify.

BP has denied it pushed Scottish authorities to release the
bomber in 2009, and Scottish authorities have also denied there
was any such contact with BP.

British Prime Minister David Cameron stressed this week
during a visit to Washington for talks with President Barack
Obama that the release was decided by Scottish authorities, and
that he thought it was the wrong decision.

Scottish officials previously sent a letter saying Scottish
Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill and Andrew Fraser, health
director for Scottish prisons, would not appear before the
committee

Investment Basics

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and James Vicini, editing by
Vicki Allen)

Scottish official sought at US Lockerbie hearing