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Brown feared Lockerbie bomber's death in jail: documents

world Updated: Sep 02, 2009 07:50 IST

A British minister told Libyan officials that Prime Minister Gordon Brown did not want the Lockerbie bomber to die in prison, according to documents released.

The then foreign office minister Bill Rammell made the comments on a visit to Tripoli in February this year, according to Libya's minister for Europe, Abdulati Alobidi.

It was included in letters and documents published by the British government in a bid to defuse an increasingly damaging row over the release last month of convicted bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi from a Scottish prison.

Notes from a meeting between Alobidi and Scottish officials on March 12 suggested the prime minister and Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband were opposed to Megrahi dying in a Scottish jail.

The notes, published by the Scottish government, stated: "Mr Alobidi confirmed that he had reiterated to Mr Rammell that the death of Mr Megrahi in a Scottish prison would have catastrophic effects for the relationship between Libya and the UK.

"Mr Alobidi went on to say that Mr Rammell had stated that neither the Prime Minister nor the Foreign Secretary would want Mr Megrahi to pass away in prison but the decision on transfer lies in the hands of the Scottish ministers."

Rammell, now a junior defence minister, late Tuesday confirmed the conversation but said he stressed the decision was solely one for Scotland, which under its semi-autonomous powers can take decisions on justice matters.