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Cables Suggest Libya 'Threats' Prompted U.K. Release Of Lockerbie Bomber

Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was said to have made "thuggish" threats.
Diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks suggest that the British government feared Libya would take "harsh and immediate" action against it if the Lockerbie bomber died in prison.

In a 2009 cable, a U.S. official apparently wrote that British officials said Libyan officials had threatened to diminish political ties if Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was not freed from a Scottish prison.

The U.S. official reportedly described Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as having made "thuggish" threats to cut off trade ties and harass embassy staff, according to a report in "The Guardian" newspaper, which is cooperating with WikiLeaks in the so-called Cablegate classified-document dump.

Al-Megrahi was the only person convicted of the 1988 attack of a U.S. plane over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed all 259 people aboard.

He received a hero's welcome upon his return to Libya.

compiled from agency reports