Libya trade loss fears led British ministers to back Lockerbie bomber's release: Wikileaks

London, Feb 1 (ANI): Britain would have suffered a setback in its political and economic ambitions in Libya if the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was not released from a Scottish prison, according to latest revelations by Wikileaks.

"The consequences if Megrahi were to die in prison or if the transfer under the Prisoner Transfer Agreement were denied would be harsh, immediate and not easily remedied," The Telegraph quoted British officials as saying in the leaked cables.

The also said that Britons would be advised not to travel to the country, the British school and British Council would be closed and all but a skeleton staff of embassy officials would be evacuated. The regime would then probably strip British firms of valuable multi-million-pound contracts.

The situation led to such complicacies that Britain was bound to secretly advise ways to the Libyan government for the early and successful release of al-Megrahi, though it concealed the facts from public insisting that the decision was solely taken by Scottish executives.

Megrahi was first indicted in 1991 over the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 in December 1988. The Libyans initially refused to hand him over for trial but finally agreed to allow him to face a special court established in Holland, where he was convicted in 2001. He was released on compassionate grounds last year and enjoyed a hero's welcome back home.

Another cable has said that one of UK's Foreign Office ministers had sent detailed legal advice on how to utilise al-Megrahi's cancer diagnosis to ensure his speedy release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds.

The UK had faced harsh criticisms from US politicians over its role in his release, though Britain continued to deny the allegations. (ANI)

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