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Brown denies trying to influence decision to release Lockerbie bomber
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08:18, September 03, 2009

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday denied trying to influence the decision by the Scottish government to release Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Brown made the remarks at a youth jobs summit in Birmingham in response to accusations of "double dealing" over al-Megrahi's release after notes of a meeting indicate he did not want al-Megrahi to die in jail.

Speaking at the summit, Brown reiterated that the decision to release al-Megrahi was solely a matter for the Scottish government and insisted that he gave no assurances to Libya about the convicted bomber's future.

"There was no conspiracy, no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil, no attempt to influence Scottish ministers," he said.

Brown added: "We were absolutely clear throughout with the Libyans and everyone else that this was a decision for the Scottish government."

Al-Megrahi was formally released on Aug. 20 in Edinburgh, where he had been jailed on charges of murdering 270 people, including 189 Americans when a Pan Am plane blew up over Lockerbie, southern Scotland, in December 1988.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the man, who had terminal cancer, was allowed to return home to die after serving eight years of a 27-year minimum sentence.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband also insisted that there had been no double dealing and no pressure placed on the Scottish government ahead of its decision to release al-Megrahi.

On Tuesday, the British government published correspondence with the Scottish government in a bid to refute allegations that the Lockerbie bomber's release was linked to a trade deal.

Al-Megrahi reportedly flew out of Britain as a dying man deserving of compassion and landed in Libya as a national hero when thousands of people gathered at Tripoli airport to welcome him as he stepped down from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's private jet.

Source: Xinhua

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