Page last updated at 14:27 GMT, Wednesday, 22 October 2008 15:27 UK

Bomber release bid 'hypothetical'

Alex Salmond
Mr Salmond said no application had been received on al-Megrahi's behalf

First Minister Alex Salmond has declined to answer "hypothetical" questions about the treatment of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing.

It emerged on Tuesday that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, 56, has prostate cancer.

This prompted calls for him to be allowed to return to Libya or for his appeal process to be speeded up.

Mr Salmond said there was no application before the Scottish Government and it would be wrong to "prejudge" any such process.

Megrahi is serving a life term in Greenock prison, with a minimum 27 years, for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie.

After the disclosure that he had prostate cancer, which has spread to other parts of this body, there were calls for his appeal against his 2001 conviction to be speeded up.

The possibility of a transfer back to Libya has also been raised.

Mr Salmond said the Scottish Government never commented on the medical condition of any prisoner.

No application

"I note that Mr Megrahi's legal team have asked for privacy on that matter," he said.

"And, secondly, there's no application for prisoner transfer or anything else before the Scottish Government, therefore there's no consideration being given to it because there's no application."

He said he would not answer hypothetical questions.

"One thing you could never do under any circumstances is prejudge how you would treat any such application - if indeed one arrived," he said.

"As far as the medical condition of any prisoner in Scotland is concerned, we don't discuss it - that's a matter for them and their medical advisers."

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