BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
N Ireland
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Friday, 15 March, 2002, 00:16 GMT
Q&A: Life in a Scottish jail
Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi has lost his appeal against a life sentence for the Lockerbie bombing.

He is beginning jail life at Barlinnie Prison, in Glasgow.

The Scottish Prison Service describes what kind of conditions and treatment he can expect.

Q: Will he have access to diplomatic representation?

A nominated consular representative will be allowed unfettered access at any reasonable time.

Q: Will he be monitored by an independent body such as the UN?

Under special arrangements an appropriate international body or department of the UN could monitor the treatment of the prisoner.

Q: Will he have access to his family?

Yes, as does any other prisoner in Scotland. Each prisoner is allowed visits of not less than 30 minutes in any period of seven consecutive days, or not less than two hours in any period of 28 consecutive days.

Q: Will he be kept separate from other prisoners?

The Scottish Prison Service will apply their judgment on this. On arrival the prisoner will be held in a distinct portion of a Scottish prison to provide maximum security.

The extent to which he will be kept separate from other prisoners will be determined by ongoing assessment.

Q: Will he be safe in prison?

Risk assessments are carried out on a regular basis and every step is taken to ensure the security and safety of all prisoners.

Q: What will happen to him in the coming weeks?

He will undergo the same admission and assessment procedures as any other prisoner sentenced to life.

That includes medical checks and the development of a sentence management plan.

Q: How will he pass his time?

The same as other life prisoners, except where required for security reasons.

All convicted prisoners are required by law to work while in prison, which can include education or other programmes.

Most have in-cell television and can buy books and newspapers, or have them bought for them.

Q: Will he be able to practice his religious beliefs?

Yes, like all convicted prisoners in Scotland.

Q: Will he serve his entire sentence in Scotland?

All prisoners convicted by Scottish courts will, by and large, serve all their sentence in the Scottish prison system.

Foreign nationals can be transferred in accordance with the Council of Europe Convention, but Libya are not signatories to the convention and no separate agreement exists between the two countries.

Q: How long is he likely to serve?

All adult mandatory life prisoners in Scotland are referred to the High Court.

The court decides the set "punishment" period the prisoner will have to serve.

After completing this the prisoner can go before the parole board, which will decide whether they are eligible for release on a life licence, or must serve longer in jail.

Q: Will he have any special privileges?

There are no plans to treat this prisoner differently from anybody else except where security provisions require it.

All provisions to prisoners are subject to the terms of prison rules.

Q: What about interpreters?

The Scottish Prison Service provides interpreters where necessary for all non-English speaking prisoners.

Lockerbie megapuff graphic


Appeal concludes

Key stories


The trial
See also:

14 Mar 02 | In Depth
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |