Lockerbie Bomber Reported on Deathbed in Tripoli

World | August 29, 2011, Monday // 09:39|  views

Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi is escorted by security officers in Tripoli on Feb. 18, 1992. Photo by BGNES

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who was sentenced for bombing a plane over the Scottish village of Lockerbie in 1988 has been found on deathbed in the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The news was reported by CNN, whose correspondent had visited Megrahi in his house in Tripoli.

"He stopped eating and is often unconscious. We give him only oxygen. We have no one to turn to for medical advice. Our phones are cut," a man, who claimed to be the bomber's son Haled, told the TV channel.

The UK authorities announced several days ago they had lost contact with Megrahi amidst the ongoing civil war in Libya, and that he was probably evacuated by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, just as Scotland said he might be wanted again.

Libyan opposition rebels declared Sunday they will not deport the Lockerbie bomber or any Libyan citizen to the "West," insisting Megrahi had already been sentenced and should not face trial again.

The former Lybian intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, sentenced as the perpetrator of the 1988 Lockerbie Bombing, has thus captured again global media attention two years after he was released from a Scottish prison on August 20, 2009.

Speaking late Thursday night, British Foreign Secretary William Hague promised "energetic support" to the Scottish government if they try to bring the Lockerbie bomber back from Libya.

Hague told the BBC he had disapproved of the decision to release Megrahi at the time.

"I said earlier this week that if I was a Scottish minister I would be looking at this again and reviewing it to see what I could do. If in Scotland they want the active support of the UK government in seeking information about him and supporting any representations they want to make about him, they will certainly get that very energetic support," he said.

Megrahi was technically released on compassionate grounds in 2009 when it was claimed he only had three months to live after being struck with cancer. However, his release is believed to have been part of a deal that the former British Cabinet of the Labor Party made with the Gaddafi regime.

An oil deal and trade concerns with Libya were at one point considered as factors in the Lockerbie bomber's release, then Justice Secretary Jack Straw said in an interview published in September 2009.

In 2001, Al Megrahi received a life sentence for the Lockebie Bombing - the blowing up of a Boeing 747 of Pan Am over the town of Lockerbie in Scotland, in which a total of 270 people perished, including 11 Lockerbie residents, and 189 US citizens.

Al Megrahi has terminal prostate cancer. He has been serving his life sentence in the Greenock Prison in Scotland. After serving 8 years, the then 57-year-old man returned as a free man to see his family.

At the end of February, now-former Libyan Justice Minister announced that Gaddafi had ordered the Lockerbie Bombing in person.

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Tags: Lockerbie, Lockerbie bombing, Scotland, Libya, Al Megrahi, plane crash, terrorist attack, Jack Straw, Muammar Gaddafi, rebels, Tripoli, William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary, 1988, 2001, 2009


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