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Justice Megrahi decision losing support


Ross Reid Justice Correspondent


Public support for the SNP’s decision to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi – the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing – has waned in recent months, according to research by Ipsos MORI. Analysts have also said that the decision by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in August 2009 was the most high-profile justice issue of the last Scottish Parliament. Writing in an article that will appear in Holyrood’s upcoming manifesto series, Vickie Chamberlain, Associate Director at Ipsos MORI, said: “Te release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was the most controversial decision made by


the Scottish Government during the Parliament, and one which continues to have international ramifications. “Our data, first collected shortly after his release in August 2009 and then again around a year later, illustrates that Scots have tended to lose support in the decision over time. “In the most recent survey, just over a third (36 per cent) said they agreed with the decision, compared with more than two in five (42 per cent) the previous year.” She added: “Conversely, just over half of respondents (54 per


cent) in 2010 disagreed with the Scottish Government’s decision to release him, compared with 45 per cent a year before. “Criticism of the decision is most strongly expressed by Scottish Conservative supporters. However, backing of the decision has waned among supporters of all parties.” On justice matters generally, Chamberlain added it was one of the most controversial areas in the last Scottish Parliament. She added: “Issues relating to crime and justice have been enduring concerns for the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and Scottish society. Although recorded crime has fallen in recent years, it remains one of the primary issues of importance for Scots and has provided some of the most hotly debated issues during the current Parliament.”


IN BRIEF


analysts now predict Lisbon will request an EU-led bailout as it struggles with rising debt levels.


EU targeted by cyber attack The EU has reported a “serious” cyber attack on the Commission and External Action Service. According to Paris Match magazine, the attack had sought documents related to the G20 and international economic affairs. The incident came on the eve of a crucial summit to discuss the future structure of the EU and ongoing crisis in Libya.


Turkey to assist US citizens in Libya Turkey has agreed to act as a ‘protecting power’ for the United States in Libya. Duties will include acting as consular officers on behalf of US citizens and looking after American diplomatic facilities in the country. Turkish diplomats are reported to have been instrumental in the release of Guardian and New York Times journalists taken prisoner during the conflict.


28 March 2011 Holyrood 11


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