Despite million-dollar US offer, Scotland freed Lockerbie bomber

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Washington, Aug. 30 (ANI): The United States had offered 'millions' to keep the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, under house arrest in UK, but Scotland went ahead with the controversial decision to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber.

US officials had "very reluctantly" backed a proposal to move Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi from Greenock Prison into some kind of high-security accommodation elsewhere in Scotland, The Independent quoted senior government sources, as saying.

However, the Americans had only consented to the option in a desperate attempt to deter the Scottish Executive from releasing Megrahi on compassionate grounds (due to his terminal prostate cancer) and sending him home to die, the report adds.

"They also made it clear that the US would be willing to contribute millions of dollars to a complicated house arrest operation that would have demanded round-the-clock security to keep the prisoner under guard and protect him from attack," sources said.

But the Scottish National Party government in Edinburgh eventually chose the option of compassionate release, claiming that police chiefs had ruled that the security implications of house arrest would be "severe."

However, Strathclyde Police denied last week that they had made any judgement on the proposal, and claimed they had only told the Scottish government how many officers would be needed.

"Our position has consistently been that we wanted to see Megrahi serve out his sentence in Scotland," an official within the US administration said yesterday.

"It got to the stage [during talks over the release] where we would have agreed to anything that would have kept him under Scottish jurisdiction," they said. (ANI)

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