MacAskill defends Megrahi release

Scotland's Justice Secretary has defended his decision to release the Lockerbie bomber almost three years ago as the only man convicted of the tragedy is buried in Libya today.

Kenny MacAskill said he had made the "right decision for the right reasons" as he gave his reaction to the death of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Former Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 bombing of a US airliner over the Dumfries and Galloway town which claimed 270 lives.

Lockerbie bomber buried

Lockerbie bomber buried
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He was later diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer and controversially released from prison in August 2009, with an estimated three months to live, on compassionate grounds.

But Megrahi, who always proclaimed his innocence, proved medical experts wrong and finally lost his cancer battle in Tripoli on Sunday at the age of 60.

Mr MacAskill, who was tasked with making the decision on Megrahi's release, said: "I said at the time that it was a privilege to hold the position of Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government.

"You have to deal with what comes before you. I didn't choose to address this matter but it was my obligation as the Justice Secretary to address it.

"I did so without fear or favour, I did so following the rules and laws that we have in Scotland, based upon the evidence provided. It was information given to me that was honest, open and transparent, and I stand by that decision.

"It was the right decision for the right reasons."