London, Aug. 28 (ANI): A whopping 61 percent of British nationals believe that the Gordon Brown Government released Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi for oil and not on "compassionate grounds," a special Populus poll conducted by The Times has revealed.
The poll reveals widespread public criticism of the release and scepticism about the reasons, with much of the blame falling on Brown.
Three fifths of those questioned (61 per cent) disagreed with the decision to return al-Megrahi to Libya on the ground of compassion, with 27 per cent agreeing.
The continuing controversy over the background to the decision, with reports of meetings between British ministers and members of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's family and the Libyan Government, have made people suspicious.
Nearly half (45 per cent) thought it had more to do with oil than al-Megrahi's terminal illness - 24 per cent disagreed.
Brown's attempt to distance himself from the move, saying that it was a decision for the Scottish government, has not gone down well, with 56 per cent saying that has handled the matter badly, and 23 per cent thinking that he had done well.
In the ranking of disapproval, Brown was second only to Colonel Gaddafi. Some 63 per cent thought that the Libyans had handled the affair badly, while 15 per cent approved of their actions.
Women were more opposed to al-Megrahi's release than men (66 per cent against 56 per cent) and more likely to be opposed to early release in principle (72 per cent against 65 per cent).
Only 22 per cent of all those questioned thought that al-Megrahi had been wrongly convicted in the first place, with 41 per cent disagreeing.
Populus interviewed a random sample of 515 adults aged over 18 by telephone on August 26.Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to be representative of all adults. (ANI)