July 19, 2010 / 4:03 PM / 8 years ago

Britain says no plans to review Libya prisoner deal

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government said it had no plans to re-examine a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya after oil company BP confirmed it had lobbied its predecessor on the issue.

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi is seen in his room at a hospital in Tripoli in this September 9, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Ismail Zetouny

U.S. politicians angry with BP over a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico want to know if the company played a role in securing the release of a Libyan convicted of the 1988 bombing of a U.S. airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

Scottish authorities, who have broad legal powers, released Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Basset al-Megrahi last year because they believed he had only three months to live. Megrahi is still alive and living in Tripoli.

“To be absolutely clear, the release of Megrahi was a decision based upon compassionate grounds and was unrelated to discussions with Libya regarding prisoner transfers,” Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said.

“There are no plans to review the PTA.”

Cameron, who took office only in May and will meet U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday, has said he thought the decision to free Megrahi was wrong.

BP has confirmed it lobbied the Labour government over prisoner transfers because it was concerned a slow resolution would impact an offshore drilling deal with Libya.

However, it has said it was not involved in discussions concerning the release of Megrahi, sentenced to life for an attack that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

The agreement was signed in April 2009 but not used to send Megrahi back to Libya.

Editing by Jon Loades-Carter

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