August 10, 2010

Senators Request Release Of Lockerbie Bomber’s Medical Records

Menendez, Gillibrand, Lautenberg and Schumer also write to Scottish government for list of al-Megrahi’s doctors

Washington, DC – Amid growing questions about the medical prognosis given to Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi that allowed his release from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) today requested the disclosure of al-Megrahi’s full medical records. In a letter to Scottish First Secretary Alex Salmond, the senators asked the Scottish government to provide the full medical information or to request al-Megrahi’s permission to release the information, if such permission is necessary. In addition, the senators asked the Scottish government for the names, medical training and specializations of the doctors who examined al-Megrahi.

“We understand that an extensive medical record was used as the basis of the decision to release Mr. al-Megrahi, but only one three-page medical document with redactions has been released by the Scottish government,” wrote the senators. “Independent examination of Mr. al-Megrahi’s complete medical record is necessary in order to understand the circumstances surrounding his compassionate release.  As you know, this matter is of the utmost importance to many Americans, especially the families of the 189 American victims aboard Pam Am Flight 103.

“A more complete medical record may help us understand exactly what Mr. al-Megrahi’s treatment options were and thereby help clarify questions about his prognosis.”

In releasing al-Megrahi from prison nearly one year ago, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill cited a medical prognosis that terminal prostate cancer had left al-Megrahi with three months to live. However, information subsequently released by the Scottish government implies that a team of medical specialists never agreed to that prognosis. Recent news reports have suggested that the prognosis may have been based on the opinion of a single primary care doctor at the Greenrock prison where al-Megrahi was kept.

Menendez is leading an investigation into the release of al-Megrahi and will chair a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the matter.

PDF of letter to Salmond: http://menendez.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/20100810ltr_alMegrahimedical.pdf