Kenny MacAskill ‘unsure’ if he broke law over Lockerbie book

Kenny MacAskill  may have broken the Official Secrets Act with his book on the Lockerbie bombing. Picture: Julie Bull
Kenny MacAskill may have broken the Official Secrets Act with his book on the Lockerbie bombing. Picture: Julie Bull
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Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill says he “doesn’t know” if he has broken the Official Secrets Act with a book about the Lockerbie bombing.

There are calls for the former SNP minister to be investigated over claims the UK Government holds a classified document implicating a Palestinian militant organisation in the 1988 atrocity.

In a television interview yesterday, Mr MacAskill said he was unaware whether his book contained information that could be illegal.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the only person convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, was released in 2009 on compassionate grounds by Mr MacAskill after dropping a second appeal against his conviction.

Despite suffering from terminal prostate cancer, Megrahi did not die until May 2012.

The document referred to in Mr MacAskill’s book is understood to have been the subject of a legal dispute during Megrahi’s appeal.

Yesterday the former justice secretary claimed the UK Government attempted to “close down” a Scottish daily newspaper for an article published in relation to the atrocity.

Asked if he had broken the Official Secrets Act, he said: “Well, I don’t know. I don’t believe so. What I’ve reported is information that came to my attention. I don’t know whether that’s the document because I was the Scottish justice secretary. I never saw it. What I believe I refer to was never put before me.

“This is something that I believe should be out there. This wasn’t put before the Scottish court. Why wasn’t it put before the Scottish court? It wasn’t put before the Scottish justice secretary or the Scottish Government.”

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has called for Mr MacAskill to be investigated, saying the former minister should “not be profiting” from breaching the Official Secrets Act.

In his book, The Lockerbie Bombing: The Search for Justice, Mr MacAskill claims Scottish ministers sought concessions from the UK Government to expedite the transfer of Megrahi to Libya.

Mr Rennie said the revelation contradicted previous statements.