Monday, 24 August 2009




Speaking after the statement by Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill SNP MSP Michael Matheson said today’s statement from Kenny MacAskill highlighted that the right decision has been made for the right reasons and exposed the political opportunism and failed arguments of the opposition.

Mr Matheson also welcomed comments from the Prime Minister’s spokesman rejecting the attack by FBI Director Robert Mueller on Scotland’s legal system and it’s commitment to tackling terrorism.

Commenting after the statement Mr Matheson, Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament's External Relations Committee, said:

“Kenny MacAskill has answered his critics and demonstrated to Parliament that at all times he followed the correct procedures in reaching what is the correct decision.

“In response to a question from me Mr MacAskill made clear that no prisoner who has fulfilled the criteria for compassionate release has ever been denied it. Mr Megrahi fulfilled those criteria and his decision in accordance with the law, despite significant pressure, was the right thing to do.

“With Scotland’s churches, civic society, senior former and current politicians and many Scots around the country agreeing with this decision and the values embodied in it it is clear that support for Mr MacAskill is growing as Scots and others around the world understand the decision and the reasons for it.

“The politicisation of what is a quasi-judicial decision has been deeply disappointing and I welcome the comments and honest positions of Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm and Lib Dem MSP John Farquhar Munro in support of Mr MacAskill’s decision against their party leadership’s wishes.”

Mr Matheson also welcomed comments from the Prime Minister’s Spokesman in response to FBI Director Robert Mueller’s letter yesterday. Asked about Mr Mueller’s comments that the decision would support terrorism the Prime Minister’s spokesman said;

"I don't think it does. This was a decision taken by the Scottish Justice Secretary in accordance with the laws of Scotland. I don't see that anyone can argue that this gives succour."

Mr Matheson said;

“Robert Mueller’s comments have been roundly refuted from all sides and I welcome the decision of the Prime Minister’s spokesman to condemn his position.

“The decision Kenny MacAskill took could never have pleased everyone and I respect those who disagree with it but this ill tempered and inappropriate attack on Scotland’s justice system has been rightly condemned.”

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