July 19, 2010

NY, NJ Senators Request Meeting With UK PM Cameron To Discuss Lockerbie Case During Washington Visit This Week

Senators Want UK to Launch Full Investigation into Release of al-Megrahi and Potential Involvement of BP

Washington, DC – With growing concerns about the circumstances surrounding the release of convicted terrorist Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles E. Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, and Bob Menendez are requesting a formal meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the United States this week. Prime Minister Cameron is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the White House.

“The discrepancy in Mr. al-Meghrahi’s life expectancy has brought back into focus the concerns that we and others expressed last year when he was released,” the Senators wrote in their letter. “We have read the reports of the correspondence between the former British government and the Scottish government with respect to negotiations with the Government of Libya, particularly whether the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) would include Mr. al-Meghrahi.  We have also been dismayed to hear from a BP representative that the company actively lobbied the previous government on behalf of the PTA, and media reports suggest BP even tried to address the release of this individual.”

In response to an inquiry from the four Senators, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that she is also requesting the British government to review the facts and circumstances leading to the release of al-Meghrahi.  

At the Senators urging, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is set to hold a hearing on July 29 to investigate all the circumstances surrounding the release of al-Megrahi, including the potential role BP played. Senators Gillibrand and Menendez serve on the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Menendez will chair the hearing.

Full letter is included below:

The Right Honorable The Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury
10 Downing Street
London
SW1A 2AA
United Kingdom


Dear Prime Minister,

We welcome you on your first visit to Washington, D.C. as the Prime Minister.  We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you while you are here.

We value the historic and close friendship and alliance between our two countries.  Considering our many ties and common interests, we are certain you appreciate the considerable concern that we have that a terrorist convicted for the death of 270 people, most of them our countries’ citizens, continues to live in freedom and comfort eleven months after release because he was judged to be near death.

The discrepancy in Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s life expectancy has brought back into focus the concerns that we and others expressed last year when he was released. We have read the reports of the correspondence between the former British government and the Scottish government with respect to negotiations with the Government of Libya, particularly whether the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) would include Mr. al-Megrahi.  We have also been dismayed to hear from a BP representative that the company actively lobbied the previous government on behalf of the PTA, and media reports suggest BP even tried to address the release of this individual.

Considering that you, likewise, raised concerns last year about the release, we hope to have the opportunity to speak to you about this matter, and what we can all do to provide greater transparency into the circumstances surrounding the release, address the injustice, and ensure that a similar mistake is not repeated.

We have been advised by Secretary of State Clinton that she has likewise requested your government to review the facts and circumstances leading to the release of al-Meghrahi.  We believe that doing so is in the best interest of both of our countries and in the service of justice.

Again, we respectfully request to meet with you this week while you are in Washington.