Kenny MacAskill to write book on freeing Lockerbie bomber

Kenny Macaskill.
Kenny Macaskill.
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FAMILIES of the Lockerbie bombing victims have criticised Kenny MacAskill for writing a book about his ­decision to free the only ­person convicted of the UK’s worst-ever terrorist atrocity.

The former Justice Secretary has been accused of cashing in after he signed a publishing deal which will see him give his account of the decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.

Libyan Megrahi is the only person convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing but served just eight years of his ­sentence before being freed in 2009 because he had cancer. ­Doctors said that he would be dead within three months.

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It is understood the book will see MacAskill give his version of the period building up to releasing Megrahi and the international condemnation of the decision to free the Libyan intelligence agent, who went on to live for three more years.

American Susan Cohen, who lost her 20-year-old daughter Theodora, said: “I view this book with extreme scepticism. Do we really think MacAskill will tell us the truth? It will just be an exercise in self-serving and some attempt to protect what he thinks is his legacy.

“I don’t care what he has to say, how tough the decision was or any of that.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont added: “The SNP bent over backwards to set Megrahi free and a lot of people are still angry about that fact.

“It’s scandalous that ­Kenny MacAskill now feels the need to make money out of this case. Once again, it’s the victims’ families and friends who are set to suffer.”

A total of 259 people on the 1988 Pan Am Flight from ­London to New York were killed in the bombing, along with a further 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie.

Megrahi, who always maintained his innocence, was found guilty of the bombing in 2001. Seven years ­later it was revealed that he had “advanced stage” prostate ­cancer.

Then Justice Secretary MacAskill released Megrahi on compassionate grounds in 2009, sparking international condemnation. US president Barack Obama called ­it “a ­mistake”.

MacAskill said he stood by his decision and would “live with the consequences”.

The veteran SNP figure and former lawyer is stepping down from Holyrood next month after 17 years as an MSP to pursue a “third career”.